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in the Clerk's Orhce of the District Court of the soutnern District 
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Copyright, 1878, by Jacob Abbott. 



In describing the character and the action 
of the personages whose histories form the 
subjects of this series, the writer makes no at- 
tempt to darken the colors in which he depicts 
their deeds of violence and wrong, or to in- 
crease, by indignant denunciations, the oblo- 
quy which heroes and conquerors have so 
often brought upon themselves, in the esti- 
mation of mankind, by their ambition, their 
tyranny, or their desperate and reckless crimes. 
In fact, it seems desirable to diminish, rather 
than to increase, the spirit of censoriousness 
which often leads men so harshly to condemn 
the errors and sins of others, committed in 
circumstances of temptation to which they 
themselves were never exposed. Besides, to 
denounce or vituperate guilt, in a narrative 
of the transactions in which it was displayed, 
has little influence in awakening a healthy 
sensitiveness in the conscience of the reader. 
We observe, accordingly, that in the narra- 
tives of the sacred Scriptures, such denuncia- 

vi Preface. 

tions are seldom found. The story of Absa- 
lom's undutifulness and rebellion, of David's 
adultery and murder, of Herod's tyranny, and 
all other narratives of crime, are related in a 
calm, simple, impartial, and forbearing spirit, 
which leads us to condemn the sins, but not to 
feel a pharisaical resentment and wrath against 
the sinner. 

This example, so obviously proper and right, 
the writer of this series has made it his en- 
deavor in all respects to follow. 




I. Cambyses 13 

II. The End of Cambyses 38 

III. Smerdis the Magian 59 

IV. The Accession of Darius 82 

V. The Provinces 99 

VI. The Reconnoitering of Greece 123 

VII. The Revolt of Babylon 144 

VIII. The Invasion of Scythia 167 

IX. The Retreat from Scythia 189 

X. The Story of Histi^us 210 

XI. The Invasion of Greece 233 

XII. The Death of Darius 264 


Map of the Persian Empire. ..Facing page 13 
The Army of Cambyses Overwhelmed in 

the Desert 35 

Ph.edyma Feeling for Smerdis's Ears 69 

The Indian Gold Hunters 121 

The Babylonians Deriding Darius from the 

Wall 156 

Map of Greece 232 

The Invasion of Greece 256 


Chapter L 

Cyrus the Great. His extended conquests 

ABOUT five or six hundred years before 
Christ, almost the whole of the interior 
of Asia was united in one vast empire. The 
founder of this empire was Cyrus the Great 
He was originally a Persian; and the whole 
empire is often called the Persian monarchy, 
taking its name from its founder's native land. 
Cyrus was not contented with having an- 
nexed to his dominion all the civilized states 
of Asia. In the latter part of his life, he con- 
ceived the idea that there might possibly be 
some additional glory and power to be acquired 
in subduing certain half-savage regions in the 
north, beyond the Araxes. He accordingly 
raised an army, and set off on an expedition 
for this purpose, against a country which was 
governed by a barbarian queen named Tomyris. 
He met with a variety of adventures on thii 

14 Darius thb Great. [B.C. 530 

Cambysea and Smerdla. Hyitaapaa and Dallas 

expedition, all of which are folly detailed in our 
history of Cyms. There is, however, only one 
occurrence that it is necessary to allude to par- 
ticularly here. That one relates to a remark- 
able dream which he had one night, just after 
he had crossed the river. 

To explain properly the nature of this dream, 
it is necessary first to state that Cyrus had two 
sons. Their names were Cambyses and Smer- 
dis. He had left them in Persia when he set 
out on his expedition across the Araxes. There 
was also a young man, then about twenty years 
of age, in one of his capitals, named Darius. He 
was the son of one of the nobles of Cyrus's court 
His father's name was Hystaspes. Hystaspes, 
besides being a noble of the court, was also, as 
almost all nobles were in those days, an officer 
of the army. He accompanied Cyrus in his 
march into the territories of the barbarian queen, 
and was with him there, in camp, at the time 
when this narrative commences. 

Cyrus, it seems, felt some misgivings in re* 
spect to the result of his enterprise; and, in 
order to insure the tranquillity of his empire du- 
ring his absence, and the secure transmission 
of his power to his rightful successor in case he 
should never return, he established his son Cam* 

B.C. 530.] Cambyses. 15 

Dream of Cyras. Hi» anxiety and fears 

byses as regent of his realms before he crossed 
the Araxes, and delivered the government of 
the empire, with great formality, into his hands. 
This took place upon the frontier, just before 
the army passed the river. The mind of a 
father, under such circumstances, would natu- 
rally be occupied, in some degree, with thoughts 
relating to the arrangements which his son 
would make, and to the difficulties he would 
be likely to encounter in managing the moment- 
ous concerns which had been committed to his 
charge. The mir\d of Cyrus was undoubtedly 
so occupied, and this, probably, was the origin 
of the remarkable dream. 

His dream was, that Darius appeared to hin 1 
in a vision, with vast wings growing from his 
shoulders. Darius stood, in the vision, on the 
confines of Europe and Asia, and his wings, 
expanded either way, overshadowed the whole 
known world. When Cyrus awoke and re- 
flected on this ominous dream, it seemed to 
him to portend s^me great danger to the fu- 
ture security of his empire. It appeared to 
denote that Darius was one day to bear sway 
over all the world. Perhaps he might be even 
then forming ambitious and treasonable designs. 
Cyrus immediately s^nt fir* Hystaspes, the 

16 Darius the Great. [B.C. 530 

Accession of Cainbyses. Wtr with Egypt 

father of Darius ; when he came to his tent, 
he commanded him to go Vack to Persia, and 
keep a strict watch over the conduct of his son 
until he himself should return. Hystaspes re- 
ceived this commission, and departed to execute 
it ; and Cyrus, somewhat relieved, perhaps, of 
his anxiety by this measure of precaution, went 
on with his army toward his place of destina- 

Cyrus never returned. He was killed in bat- 
tle ; and it would seem that, though the Import 
of his dream was ultimately fulfilled, Darius 
was not, at that time, meditating any schemes 
of obtaining possession of the throne, for he 
made no attempt to interfere with the regular 
transmission of the imperial power from Cy- 
rus to Cambyses his son. At any rate, it was 
so transmitted. The tidings of Cyrus's death 
came to thb capital, and Cambyses, his son, 
reigned in his stead. 

The great event of the reign of Cambyses was 
a war with Egypt, which originated in the fol- 
lowing very singular manner : 

It has been found, in all ages of the world, that 
there is some peculiar quality of the soil, or 
climate, or atmosphere of Egypt which tends to 
produce an inflammation of the eyes. Tho in- 

BC.530.] Oambyses. 17 

Origin of the war with Egypt. Ophthalmia 

habitants themselves have at all times been 
very subject to this disease, and foreign armies 
marohing into the country are always very seri- 
ously affected by it. Thousands of soldiers in 
such armies are sometimes disabled from this 
oause, and many are made incurably blind. 
Now a country which produces a disease in its 
worst form and degree, will produce also, gen- 
erally, the best physicians for that disease. At 
any rate, this was supposed to be the case in 
ancient times ; and accordingly, when any pow- 
erful potentate in those days was afflicted him- 
self with ophthalmia, or had such a case in his 
family, Egypt was the country to send to for a 

Now it happened that Cyrus himself, at one 
time in the course of his life, was attacked with 
this disease, and he dispatched an embassador 
to Amasis, who was then king of Egypt, asking 
him to send him a physician. Amasis, who, 
like all the other absolute sovereigns of those 
days, regarded his subjects as slaves that were 
in all respects entirely at his disposal, selected 
a physician of distinction from among the at- 
tendants about his court, and ordered him to 
repair to Persia. The physician was extremely 

reluctant to go He had a wifa and family, 

18 Darius the Great. [B.C. 530. 

The Egyptian physician. II is plan of revenja. 

from whom he was very unwilling to be sepa- 
rated ; but the orders were imperative, and he 
must obey. He set out on the journey, there- 
fore, but he secretly resolved to devise some 
mode of revenging himself on the king for the 
cruelty of sending him. 

He was well received by Cyrus, and, either 
by his skill as a physician, or from other causes, 
he acquired great influence at the Persian court. 
At last he contrived a mode of revenging him- 
self on the Egyptian king for naving exiled hirr 
from his native land. The king had a daugh- 
ter, who was a lady of great beauty. Her fa- 
ther was very strongly attached to her. The 
physician recommended to Cyrus to send to 
Amasis and demand this daughter in marriage. 
As, however, Cyrus was already married, the 
Egyptian princess would, if she came, be his 
concubine rather than his wife, or, if considered 
a wife, it could only be a secondary and subor- 
dinate place that she could occupy. The phy- 
sician knew that, under these circumstances, 
the King of Egypt would be extremely unwill- 
ing to send her to Cyrus, while he would yet 
scarcely dare to refuse; and the hope of plung- 
ing him into extreme embarrassment and dis- 
tress, by means of such a demand from so pow- 

B.C. 530.] Cambyses. 19 

Demand of Cyrus. Stratagem of the King of Egypt 

erfiil a sovereign, was the motive which led the 
physician to recommend the measure. 

Cyrus was pleased with the proposal, and 
sent, accordingly, to make the demand. The 
king, as the physician had anticipated, could 
not endure to part with his daughter in such a 
way, nor did he, on the other hand, dare to in- 
cur the displeasure of so powerful a monarch by 
a direct and open refusal. He finally resolved 
upon escaping from the difficulty by a stratagem. 

There was a young and beautiful captive 
princess in his court named Nitetis. Her fa- 
ther, whose name was Apries, had been formerly 
the King of Egypt, but he had been dethroned 
and killed by Amasis. Since the downfall of 
her family, Nitetis had been a captive ; but, as 
Bhe was very beautiful and very accomplished, 
Amasis conceived the design of sending her to 
Cyrus, under the pretense that she was the 
daughter whom Cyrus had demanded. He ac- 
cordingly brought her forth, provided her with 
the most costly and splendid dresses, loaded her 
with presents, ordered a large retinue to attend 
her, and sent her forth to Persia. 

Cyrus was at first very much pleased with 
his new bride. Nitetis became, in fact, his prin- 
cipal favorite ; though, of course, his other wife, 

20 Darius the Great. IB.C 530 

Resentment of Cassandane. Threats of Cambysaa 

whose name was Cassandane, and her children^ 
Cambyses and Smerdis, were jealous of her, and 
hated her. One day, a Persian lady was visit 
Ing at the court, and as she was standing neai 
Cassandane, and saw her two sons, who were 
then tall and handsome young men, she ex- 
pressed her admiration of them, and said to 
Cassandane, " How proud and happy you must 
be !" " No," said Cassandane ; " on the con- 
trary, I am very miserable ; for, though I am 
the mother of these children, the king neglects 
and despises me. All his kindness is bestowed 
on this Egyptian woman." Cambyses, who 
heard this conversation, sympathized deeply 
with Cassandane in her resentment. " Moth 
er," said he, " be patient, and I will avenge you. 
As soon as I am king, I will go to Egypt and 
turn the whole country upside down." 

In fact, the tendenoy which there was in the 
mind of Cambyses to look upon Egypt as the 
first field of war and conquest for him, so soon 
as he should succeed to the throne, was encour- 
aged by the influence of his father ; for Cyrus, 
although he was much captivated by the charms 
of the lady whom the King of Egypt had sent 
him, was greatly incensed against the king for 
having practiced upon him such a deception 

B.C. 530.1 Cambyses. 21 

Feature conquests. Temperament and character of Cambyses 

Besides, all the important countries in Asii 
were already included within the Persian do- 
minions It was plain that if any future prog 
ress were if. be made in extending the empire, 
the regions of Europe and Africa must he the 
theatre of it. Egypt seemed the most accessi- 
ble and vulnerable point beyond the confines of 
Asia; and thus, though Cyrus himself, bein& 
advanced somewhat in years, and interested, 
moreover, in other projects, was not prepared to 
undertake an enterprise into Africa himself, he 
was very willing that such plans should be cher- 
ished by his son. 

Cambyses was an ardent, impetuous, and 
self-willed boy, such as the sons of rich and 
powerful men are very apt to become. They 
imbibe, by a sort of sympathy, the ambitious 
and aspiring spirit of their fathers ; and as all 
their childish caprices and passions are general- 
ly indulged, they never learn to submit to con- 
trol. They become vain, self-conceited, reck- 
less, and cruel. The conqueror who founds an 
empire, although even his character generally 
deteriorates very seriously toward the olose of 
nis oareer, still usually knows something of 
moderation and generosity. His son, however, 
who inherits his father's power, seldom inherits 

22 Darius the Great. [B.C. 527 

Impetuosity of Cambysea. Preparation* for the Egyptian war 

the virtues by which the power was aoquired. 
These truths, which we see continually exem- 
plified all around us, on a small scale, in the 
families of the wealthy and the powerful, were 
Illustrated most conspicuously, in the view of 
all mankind, in the case of Cyrus and Camby- 
869. The father was prudent, cautious, wise, 
and often generous and forbearing. The son 
grew up headstrong, impetuous, uncontrolled, 
and uncontrollable. He had the most lofty 
ideas of his own greatness and power, and he 
felt a supreme contempt for the rights, and in- 
difference to the happiness of all the world be- 
sides. His history gives us an illustration of 
the worst which the principle of hereditary sov- 
ereignty can do, as the best is exemplified in 
the case, of Alfred of England. 

Cambyses, immediately after his father's 
death, began to make arrangements for the 
Egyptian invasion. The first thing to be de- 
termined was the mode of transporting his ar- 
mies thither. Egypt is a long and narrow val- 
ley, with the rocks and deserts of Arabia on one 
side, and those of Sahara on the other. There 
is no convenient mode of access to it except by 
sea, and Cambyses had no naval force sufficient 
for a maritime expedition. 

B.C. 527.] Cambyses. 23 

Pe»«rtlon of Phanes. His narrow e»sap«. 

Wliile he was revolving the subjeot in his 
mind, there arrived in his capital of Susa, where 
he was then residing, a deserter from the army 
af Amasis in Egypt. The name of tins desert- 
er was Phanes. He was a Greek, having been 
the commander of a body of Greek troops who 
were employed by Amasis as auxiliaries in his 
army. He had had a quarrel with Amasis, and 
had fled to Persia, intending to join Cambyses 
in the expedition which he was contemplating, 
in order to revenge himself on the Egyptian 
king. Phanes said, in telling his story, that he 
had had a very narrow escape from Egypt ; for, 
as soon as Amasis had heard that he had fled, 
he dispatched one of his swiftest vessels, a gal- 
iey of three banks of oars, in hot pursuit of the 
fugitive. The galley overtook the vessel in 
which Phanes had taken passage just as it was 
landing in Asia Minor. The Egyptian officers 
seized it and made Phanes prisoner. They im- 
mediately began to make their preparations for 
the return voyage, putting Phanes, in the mean 
time, under the charge of guards, who were in- 
structed to keep him very safely. Phanes, 
however, cultivated a good understanding with 
his guards, and presently invited them to drink 
wine with him. In the end, he got them intox- 

24 Darius the Great. [B.C.527 

Information given by Phanea. Treaty with the Arabian kiaf 

icated, and while they were in that state he 
made his esoape from them, and then, traveling 
with great seorecy and caution until he was be- 
yond their reach, he succeeded in making ii« 
way to Cambyses in Susa. 

Phanes gave Cambyses a great deal of in- 
formation in respeot to the geography of Egypt, 
the proper points of attack, the character and 
resources of the king, and communicated, like- 
wise, a great many other particulars which it 
was very important that Cambyses should know 
He recommended that Cambyses should proceed 
to Egypt by land, through Arabia ; and that, in 
order to secure a safe passage, he should send first 
to the King of the Arabs, by a formal embassy, 
asking permission to cross his territories with an 
army, and engaging the Arabians to aid him, it 
possible^ in the transit. Cambyses did this 
The Arabs were very willing to join in any pro- 
jected hostilities against the Egyptians; they 
offered Cambyses a free passage, and agreed to 
•id his army on their march. To the faithful 
fulfillment of these stipulations the Arab chief 
bound himself by a treaty, executed with the 
most solemn forms and ceremonies. 

The great difficulty to be encountered in 
traversing the deserts which Cambyses would 

B.C.S26.] Gambyses. 26 

Plan for providing water. Account or Herodotus. 

have to cross on his way to Egypt was the 
want of water. To provide for this necessity, 
the king of the Arabs sent a vast number of 
«amels into the desert, laden with great sacks 
or bags full of water. These camels were sent 
forward just before the army of Cambyses came 
on, and they deposited their supplies along the 
route at the points where they would be most 
needed. Herodotus, the Greek traveler, who 
made a journey into Egypt not a great many 
years after these transactions, and who wrote 
subsequently a full description of what he saw 
and heard there, gives an account of another 
method by which the Arab king was said to 
have conveyed water into the desert, and that 
was by a canal or pipe, made of the skins of 
oxen, which he laid along the ground, from a 
certain river of his dominions, to a distance of 
twelve days' journey over the sands! This 
story Herodotus says he did not believe, though 
elsewhere in the course of his history he gravoly 
relates, as true history, a thousand tales infi- 
nitely more improbable than the idea of a leath- 
ern pipe or hose like this to serve for a conduit 
of water. 

By some means or other, at all events, the 
Arab chief provided supplies of water in the 

26 Darius the Gtreat. [B.C. 526 

A. great tattle. Defeat of the Egyptians 

desert for Cambyses's army, and the troops made 
the passage safely. They arrived, at length, on 
the frontiers of Egypt.* Here they found that 
Amasis, the king, was dead, and Psammem 
tus, his son, had succeeded him. Psammenitus 
came forward to meet the invaders. A great 
battle was fought. The Egyptians were rout- 
ed Psammenitus fled up the Nile to the city 
of Memphis, taking with him such broken rem- 
nants of his army as he could get together after 
the battle, and feeling extremely incensed and 
exasperated against the invader. In fact, Cam- 
Dyses had now no excuse or pretext whatevei 
for waging such a war against Egypt. The 
monarch who had deceived his father was dead, 
and there had never been any cause of com- 
plaint against his son or against the Egyptian 
people. Psammenitus, therefore, regarded the 
invasion of Egypt by Cambyses as a wanton 
and wholly unjustifiable aggression, and he de- 
termined, in his own mind, that such invaders 
deserved no mercy, and that he would show 
them none. Soon after this, a galley on th« 
river, belonging to Cambyses, containing a crew 

*For the places mentioned in this chapter, and the 
track of Cambyses on his expedition, see the map at the 
commencement ol this volume. 

B.C 526.] Cambyses. 27 

Inhuman conduct of Cambyses. His tr sat mem of Psammenltua 

of two hundred men, fel. into his hands. The 
Egyptians, in their rage, tore these Persians all 
to pieces This exasperated Cambyses in his 
turn, and the war went on, attended by the 
most atrocious cruelties on both sides. 

In fact, Cambyses, in this Egyptian cam- 
paign, pursued such a career of inhuman and 
reckless folly, that people at last considered him 
insane. He began with some small semblance 
of moderation, but he proceeded, in the end, to 
the perpetration of the most terrible excesses of 
violence and wrong. 

As to his moderation, his treatment of Psam- 
menitus personally is almost the only instance 
that we can record. In the course of the war, 
Psammenitus and all his family fell into Cam- 
byses's hands as captives. A few days after- 
ward, Cambyses conducted the unhappy king 
without the gates of the city to exhibit a spec- 
tacle to him. The spectacle was that of his 
beloved daughter, clothed in the garments of a 
slave, and attended by a company of other 
maidens, the daughters of the nobles and other 
persons of distinction belonging to his court, aK 
going down to the river, with heavy jugs, to 
draw water. The fathers of all these hapless 
maidens had been brought out with Psamme- 

28 Darius the Great. [B.C. 52b 

The train of captive maidens. The young me*. 

nitus to witness the degradation and misery of 
their children. The maidens cried and sobbed 
aloud as they went along, overwhelmed with 
shame and terror. Their fathers manifested 
Hie utmost agitation and distress. Cambyses 
stood smiling by, highly enjoying the spectacle. 
Psammenitus alone appeared unmoved. Ho 
gazed on the scene silent, motionless, and with 
a countenance which indicated no active suffer- 
ing ; he seemed to be in a state of stupefaction 
and despair. Cambyses was disappointed, and 
his pleasure was marred at finding that his vie 
tim did not feel more acutely the sting of the 
torment with which he was endeavoring to 
goad him. 

When this train had gone by, another came. 
It was a company of young men, with halters 
about their necks, going to execution. Cam- 
byses had ordered that for every one of the crew 
of his galley that the Egyptians had killed, ten 
Egyptians should be executed. This propor- 
tion would require two thousand victims, as 
there had been two hundred in the crew. These 
yictims were to be selected from among the 
eons of the leading families ; and their parents, 
after having seen their delicate and gentle 
daughters go to their servile toil, were now 

BC. 524.J Cambyses. 29 

Scenes of distress and suffering. Composure of Psammenittuj 

next to behold their sons march in a long and 
terrible array to execution. The son of Psam- 
menitus was at the head of the column. The 
Egyptian parents who stood around Psamme- 
nirus wept and lamented aloud, as one after 
another saw his own child in the train. Psam- 
menitus himself, however, remained as silent 
and motionless, and with a countenance as va- 
cant as before. Cambyses was again disap- 
pointed. The pleasure which the exhibition 
afforded him was incomplete without visible 
manifestations of suffering in the victim for 
whose torture it was principally designed. 

After this train of captives had passed, there 
came a mixed collection of wretched and mis- 
erable men, such as the siege and sacking of 
a city always produces in countless numbers 
Among these was a venerable man whom Psam- 
menitus recognized as one of his friends. He 
had been a man of wealth and high station ; he 
had often been at the court of the king, and had 
boen entertained at his table. He was no^, 
however, reduced to the last extremity of dis- 
tress, and was begging of the people something 
to keep him from starving. The sight of thb 
man in such a condition seemed to awaken tht 
king from his blank and death-like despair. He 

30 Darius the Great. [B.C.524 

Feelings of the father. His e i; lanation of th«m 

called his old friend by name in a tone of aston- 
ishment and pity, and burst into tears. 

Cambyses, observing this, sent a messenger to 
Psammenitus to inquire what it meant. " He 
wishes to know," said the messenger, " how it 
happens that you could see your own daughter 
set at work as a slave, and your son led away 
to execution unmoved, and yet feel so much 
commiseration for the misfortunes of a stran- 
ger." We might suppose that any one possess- 
ing the ordinary susceptibilities of the human 
soul would have understood without an explan- 
ation the meaning of this, though it is not sur- 
prising that such a heartless monster as Cam- 
byses did not comprehend it. Psammenitus 
sent him word that he could not help weeping 
for his friend, but that his distress and anguish 
an account of his children were too great for 

The Persians who were around Cambyses 
began now to feel a strong sentiment of com- 
passion for the unhappy king, and to intercede 
with Cambyses in his favor. They begged him, 
too, to spare Psammenitus's son. It will in- 
terest those of our readers who have perused 
our history of Cyrus to know that Croesus, the 
oaptdve king of Lydia, whom they will recollect 

B^.524.1 Cambyses. 31 

v _ , 

Cambyses relents. His treatment of tht body of A mud* 

to have been committed to Cambyses's charge 
by his father, just before the close of his life, 
when he was setting forth on his last fatal ex* 
pedition, and who accompanied Cambyses on 
this invasion of Egypt, was present on this oo- 
oasion, and was one of the most earnest inter- 
oeders in PsammenituVs favor. Cambyses al- 
lowed himself to be persuaded. They sent off 
a messenger to order the execution of the king's 
son to be stayed ; but he arrived too late. The 
unhappy prince had already fallen. Cambyses 
was so far appeased by the influence of these 
facts, that he abstained from doing Psammeni- 
tus or his family any further injury 

He, however, advanced up the NiLs, ravaging 
and plundering the country as he went on, and 
at length, in the course of his conquests, he 
gained possession of the tomb in which the em- 
balmed body of Amasis was deposited. He or- 
dered this body to be taken out of its sarcopha- 
gus, and treated with every mark of ignominy. 
His soldiers, by his orders, beat it with rods, as 
if it could still feel, and goaded it, and cut it 
with swords. They pulled the hair out of the 
head by the roots, and loaded the lifeless form 
with every conceivable mark of insult and ig- 
nominy. Finally, Cambyses ordered the ma 

32 Darius the Great. [B.C. 524 

Carnbyses's desecrations. The sacred boll Apis 

tilated remains that were left to be burned, 
which was a procedure as abhorrent to the idea* 
and feelings of the Egyptians as could possibly 
be devised. 

Cambyses took every opportunity to insult 
the religious, or as, perhaps, we ought to call 
them, the superstitious feelings of the Egyp- 
tians. He broke into their temples, desecrated 
their altars, and subjected every thing which 
they held most sacred to insult and ignominy 
Among their objects of religious veneration was 
the sacred bull called Apis. This animal wa.« 
seleoted from time to time, from the country at 
large, by the priests, by means of certain marks 
which they pretended to discover upon its body, 
and which indicated a divine and sacred char- 
acter. The sacred bull thus found was kept in 
a magnificent temple, and attended and fed in a 
most sumptuous manner. In serving him, the 
attendants used vessels of gold. 

Cambyses arrived at the city where Apis was 
kept at a time when the priests were celebra- 
ting some sacred occasion with festivities and re- 
joicings. He was himself then returning from 
an unsuccessful expedition which he had made, 
and, as he entered the town, stung with vexa- 
tion and anger at his defeat, the gladness and 

B.C. 524.] Cambyses. 3a 

Cambyses stabs the sacred ball His mad expeditions 

joy which the Egyptians manifested in their 
ceremonies served only to irritate him, and to 
make him more angry than ever. He killed 
the priests who were officiating. He then de- 
manded to be taken into the edifice to see the 
sacred animal, and there, after insulting the 
feelings of the worshipers in every possible way 
Dy ridicule and scornful words, he stabbed the 
innocent bull with his dagger. The animal 
died of the wound, and the whole country was 
filled with horror and indignation. The people 
believed that this deed would most assuredly 
bring down upon the impious perpetrator of it 
the judgments of heaven. 

Cambyses organized, while he was in Egypt, 
•everal mad expeditions into the surrounding 
countries. In a fit of passion, produced by an 
unsatisfactory answer to an embassage, he set 
off suddenly, and without any proper prepara- 
tion, to march into Ethiopia. The provisions 
of his army were exhausted before he had per- 
formed a fifth part of the march. Still, in his 
infatuation, he determined to go on. The sol- 
diers subsisted for a time on such vegetables as 
Chey could find by the way ; when these failed, 
they slaughtered and ate their beasts of burden ; 
ind finally, in the extremity of their famine 

34 Darius the (treat. [B.C.521 

The sand storm. Cambyses a wine-Dibber. 

they began to kill and devour one another ; then, 
at length, Cambyses concluded to return. Ht 
sent off, too, at one time, a large army across 
the desert toward tne Temple of Jupiter Am- 
nion, without any of the necessary precautions 
for such a march. This army never reached 
their destination, and they never returned. 
The people of the Oasis said that they were 
overtaken by a sand storm in the desert, and 
were all overwhelmed. 

There was a certain officer in attendance on 
Cambyses named Prexaspes. He was a sort 
of confidential friend and companion of the 
king ; and his son, who was a fair, and grace- 
ful, and accomplished youth, was the king's 
cup-bearer, which was an office of great consid- 
eration and honor. One day Cambyses asked 
Prexaspes what the Persians generally thought 
of him. Prexaspes replied that they thought 
and spoke well of him in all respects but one 
The king wished to know what the exception 
was. Prexaspes rejoined, that it was the gen 
eral opinion that he was too much addioted to 
wine. Cambyses was offended at this reply; 
and, under the influence of the feeling, so wholly 
unreasonable and absurd, which so often leads 
men tc be angry with the innoornt viedium 


B.C.524.] Cambyses. 37 

Brutal act of Cambyses He is deemed Insane 

through which there comes to them any com- 
munication which they do not like, he determ- 
ined to punish Prexaspes for his freedom. He 
ordered his son, therefore, the cup-bearer, to 
take his place against the wall on the other 
side of the room. " Now," said he, "I will put 
what the Persians say to the test." As he said 
this, he took up a bow and arrow which were. 
at his side, and began to fit the arrow to the 
string. " If," said he, " I do not shoot him ex- 
actly through the heart, it shall prove that the 
Persians are right. If I do, then they are wrong, 
as it will show that I do not drink so much as 
to make my hand unsteady." So saying, he 
irew the bow, the arrow flew through tne air, 
and pierced the poor boy's breast. He fell, and 
Cambyses coolly ordered the attendants to open 
the body, and let Prexaspes see whether the ar- 
row had not gone through the heart. 

These, and a constant succession of similar 
acts of atrocious and reckless cruelty and folly, 
W the world to say that Cambyses was insane 

Sb Darius the Great. [B.C. 523 

Cmmbysea'i profligate conduct. Lie marries bis own »iatar« 

Chapter II. 
The End of Cambyses. 

AMONG the other acts of profligate wicked 
ness which have blackened indelibly and 
forever Cambyses's name, he married two of 
his own sisters, and brought one of them with 
him to Egypt as his wife. The natural in- 
stincts of all men, except those whose early life 
has been given up to the most shameless and 
dissolute habits of vice, are sufficient to preserve 
them from such crimes as these. Cambyses 
himself felt, it seems, some misgivings when 
contemplating the first of these marriages ; and 
he sent to a certain council of judges, whose 
province it was to interpret the laws, asking 
them their opinion of the rightfulness of suoh 
a marriage Kings ask the opinion of their le- 
gal advisers In such cases, not because they 
really wish to know whether the act in question 
is right or wrong, but because, having them- 
selves determined upon the performance of it, 
they wish their counselors to give it a sort of 
legal sanction, in order to justify the deed, and 

B.C.523.] The> Eitd of Cambyses. 39 

Consultation of the f tt.sian judges. Their opinion 

diminish the popular odium which it might 
otherwise incur. 

The Persian judges whom Cambyses con- 
sulted on this occasion understood very well 
what was expected of them. After a grave 
deliberation, they returned answer to the king 
that, though they .could find no law allowing a 
man to marry his sister, they found many which 
authorized a king of Persia to do whatever he 
thought best. Cambyses accordingly carried 
his plan into execution. He married first the 
older sister, whose name was Atossa. Atossa 
became subsequently a personage of grot his- 
torical distinction. The daughter of Cyrus, the 
wife of Darius, and the mother of Xerxes, she 
was the link that bound together the three 
most magnificent potentates of the whole East- 
ern world. How far these sisters were willing 
participators in the guilt of their incestuous 
marriages we can not now know. The one 
who went with Cambyses into Egypt was of 
a humane, and gentle, and timid disposition, 
being in these respects wholly unlike her broth- 
er ; and it may be that she merely yielded, w 
the transaction of her marriage, to her brother's 
arbitrary and imperious will. 

Besides this sister, Cambyses had brought 

40 Darius the Great. [BO. 52c 

Smerdia. Jealousy of Cambyses. The two mmfl 

his brother Smerdis with him into Egypt 
Smerdis was younger than Cambyses, but he 
was superior to him in strength and personal ac- 
complishments. Cambyses was very jealous 
of this superiority. He did not dare to leave 
his brother in Persia, to manage the govern- 
ment in his stead during his absence, lest he 
should take advantage of the temporary power 
thus committed to his hands, and usurp the 
throne altogether. He decided, therefore, to 
bring Smerdis with him into Egypt, and to 
leave the government of the state in the hands 
of a regency composed of two magi. These 
magi were public officers of distinction, but, 
having no hereditary claims to the crown, Cam- 
byses thought there would be little danger of 
their attempting to usurp it. It happened, how- 
ever, that the name of one of these magi was 
Smerdis. This coincidence between the magi- 
an's name and that of the prince led, in the 
end, as will presently be seen, to very import- 
ant consequences. 

The uneasiness and jealousy which Camby- 
ses felt in respect to his brother was not whol- 
ly allayed by the arrangement which he thus 
made for keeping him in his army, and so un- 
der his own personal observation and command 

B.C.523.] Thf End of Cambyses. 41 

Cambyses suspicious. He plans an Invasion of Ethiopia 

Smerdis evinced, on various occasions, so much 
strength and skill, that Cambyses feared his in- 
fluence among the officers and soldiers, and was 
rendered continually watchful, suspicious, and 
Afraid. A circumstance at last occurred which 
8xoited his jealousy more than ever, and he de 
termined to send Smerdis home again to Persia. 
The circumstance was this : 

After Cambyses had succeeded in obtaining 
full possession of Egypt, he formed, among his 
other wild and desperate schemes, the design of 
invading the territories of a nation of Ethiopi- 
ans who lived in the interior of Africa, around 
and beyond the sources of the Nile. The Ethi- 
opians were celebrated for their savage strength 
and bravery. Cambyses wished to obtain in- 
formation respecting them and their country 
before setting out on his expedition against 
them, and he determined to send spies into their 
country to obtain it. But, as Ethiopia was a 
territory so remote, and as its institutions and 
customs, and the language, the dress, and the 
manners of its inhabitants were totally different 
from those of all the other nations of the earth, 
and were almost wholly unknown to the Per- 
sian army, it vas impossible to send Persians 
in disguise, with any hope that they could e"v 

42 Darius the Great. [B.C.523 

•land of Elephantine. The Icthyophagl. 

ter and explore the country without being dis- 
covered. It was very doubtful, in faot, wheth- 
er, if such spies were to be sent, they could 
succeed in reaching Ethiopia at all. 

Now there was, far up the Nile, near the cat- 
aracts, at a place where the river widens and 
forms a sort of bay, a large and fertile island 
called Elephantine, which was inhabited by a 
half-savage tribe called the Icthyophagi. They 
lived mainly by fishing on the river, and, conse- 
quently, they had many boats, and were accus- 
tomed to make long excursions up and down 
the stream. Their name was, in fact, derived 
from their occupation. It was a Greek word, 
and might be translated " Fishermen."* The 
manners and customs of half-civilized or savage 
nations depend entirely, of course, upon the 
modes in which they procure their subsistence. 
Some depend on hunting wild beasts, some on 
rearing flocks and herds of tame animals, some 
on cultivating the ground, and some on fishing 
in rivers or in the sea. These four different 
nodes of procuring food result in as many to- 
tally diverse modes of life : it is a curious fact, 
however, that while a nation of hunters differs 
very essentially from a nation of herdsmen 01 

* Literally, fish-eateri 

B.C.523.]The End of Cambyses. 43 

Classes of savage nations. Embassadors sent to Ethiopia. 

of fishermen, though they may live, perhaps, in 
the same neighborhood with them, still, all na- 
tions of hunters, however widely they may be 
separated in geographical position, very strong- 
ly resemble one another in character, in cus- 
toms, in institutions, and in all the usages of 
life. It is so, moreover, with all the other types 
of national constitution mentioned above. The 
Greeks observed these characteristics of the va- 
rious savage tribes with which they became ac- 
quainted, and whenever they met with a tribe 
that lived by fishing, they called them Icthy- 

Cambyses sent to the Icthyophagi of the isl- 
and of Elephantine, requiring them to furnish 
him with a number of persons acquainted with 
the route to Ethiopia and with the Ethiopian 
language, that he might send them as an em- 
bassy. He also provided some presents to be 
sent as a token of friendship to the Ethiopian 
king. The presents were, however, only a pre- 
text, to enable the embassadors, who were, in 
fact, spies, to go to the capital and court of the 
Ethiopian monarch in safety, and bring back to 
Cambyses all the information which they should 
be able to obtain. 

The presents consisted of such toys and orna- 

44 Darius the Great. [B.C. 523 

The presents. The Ethiopian king detects the imposture. 

ments as they thought would most please the 
fancy of a savage king. There were some pur- 
ple vestments of a very rich and splendid dye, 
and a golden chain for the neck, golden brace- 
lets for the wrists, an alabaster box of very pre- 
cious perfumes, and other similar trinkets and 
toys. There was also a large vessel filled with 

The Icthyophagi took these presents, and set 
out on their expedition. After a long and toil- 
some voyage and journey, they came to the 
country of the Ethiopians, and delivered then- 
presents, together with the message which Cam- 
byses had intrusted to them. The presents, 
they said, had been sent by Cambyses as & 
token of his desire to become the friend and ally 
of the Ethiopian king. 

The (king, instead of being deceived by this 
hypocrisy, detected the imposture at once. He 
knew very well, he said, what was the motive 
of Cambyses in sending such an embassage to 
him, and he should advise Cambyses to be con- 
tent with his own dominions, instead of planning 
aggressions of violence, and schemes and strata- 
gems of deceit against his neighbors, in order to 
get possession of theirs. He then began to look 
at the presents which the embassadors had 

B.C. 523.] TheEndofCambyses. 45 

The Ethiopian king's opinion of Cambyses's presents. 

brought, which, however, he appeared very soon 
to despise. The purple vest first attracted his 
attention. He asked whether that was the true, 
natural color of the stuff, or a false one. Thf> 
messengers told him that the linen wa* dyed, 
and began to explain the process to him. The 
mind of the savage potentate, however, instead 
of being impressed, as the messengers supposed 
he would have been through their description, 
with a high idea of the excellence and superi- 
ority of Persian art, only despised the false show 
of what he considered an artificial and fictitious 
beauty. "The beauty of Cambyses's dresses," 
said he, "is as deceitful, it seems, as the fair 
show of his professions of friendship." As to 
the golden bracelets and necklaces, the king 
looked upon them with contempt. He thought 
that they were intended for fetters and chains, 
and said that, however well they might answer 
among the effeminate P Asians, they were wholly 
insufficient to confine such sinews as he had to 
lea with. The wine, however, he liked. He 
drank it with great pleasure, and told the Icthy- 
ophagi that it was the only article among all 
their presents that was worth receiving. 

In return for the presents which Cambyse* 
•aad sent him, the King of the Ethiopians, who 

46 Darius the (treat. [B.C. 52a 

Return of the Ictbyophagi. The Ethiopian bow 

was a man of prodigious size and strength, took 
down his bow and gave it to the Iothyophagi, 
telling them to carry it to Cambyses as a token 
of his defiance, and to ask him to see if he could 
find a man in all his army who could bend it. 
" Tell Cambyses," he added, " that when his sol- 
diers are able to bend such bows as that, it will 
be time for him to think of invading the terri- 
tories of the Ethiopians ; and that, in the mean 
time, he ought to consider himself very fortu- 
nate that the Ethiopians were not grasping and 
ambitious enough to attempt the invasion of 

When the Icthyophagi returned to Camby- 
ses with this message, the strongest men in the 
Persian camp were of course greatly interested 
in examining and trying the bow. Smerdis 
was the only one that could be found who was 
strong enough to bend it ; and he, by the supe- 
riority to the others which he thus evinced, 
gained great renown. Csmbyses was fiUed with 
jealousy and anger. He determined to send 
Smerdis back again to Persia. " It will be bet- 
ter," thought he to himself, " to incur whatever 
danger there may be of his exciting revolt at 
home, than to have him present in my court, 
subjecting me to continual mortification and 

B.C. 523.] The End of Cambyses. 47 

Jealousy of Cambyses. He orders Smerdis to be murdered 

chagrin by the perpetual parade of his superior- 

His mind was, however, not at ease after hi* 
brother had gone. Jealousy and suspicion in re- 
gpect to Smerdis perplexed his waking thoughts 
and troubled his dreams. At length, one night, 
he thought he saw Smerdis seated on a royal 
throne in Persia, his form expanded supernatu- 
rally to such a prodigious size that he touched 
the heavens with his head. The next day, Cam- 
byses, supposing that the dream portended dan- 
ger that Smerdis would be one day in posses- 
sion of the throne, determined to put a final and 
perpetual end to all these troubles and fears, 
and he sent for an officer of his court, Prexaspes 
— the same whose son he shot through the heart 
with an arrow, as described in the last chapter 
— and commanded him to proceed immediately 
to Persia, and there to find Smerdis, and kill 
him. The murder of Prexaspes's son, though 
related in the last chapter as an illustration of 
Cambyses's character, did not actually take 
olace till after Prexaspes returned from this ex- 

Prexaspes went to Persia, and executed the 
orders of the king by the assassination of Smer- 
dia There are different accounts of the mode 

48 Darius thl Great. [B.C.523 

tanbyses puwi more cruel. Twelve noblemen bnried iJit* 

which he adopted for accomplishing his purpose 
One is, that he contrived some way to drown 
him in the sea ; another, that he poisoned him J 
and a third, that he killed him in the forests, 
when he was out on a hunting excursion. At 
all events, the deed was done, and Prexaspes 
went back to Cambyses, and reported to him 
that he had nothing further to fear from his 
brother's ambition. 

In the mean time, Cambyses went on from 
bad to worse in his government, growing every 
day more despotic and tyrannical, and abandon- 
ing hinself to fits of cruelty and passion which 
became more and more excessive and insane 
At one time, on some slight provocation, he or- 
dered twelve distinguished noblemen of his 
court to be buried alive. It is astonishing that 
there can be institutions and arrangements in 
the social state which will give one man such 
an ascendency over others that such commands 
can be obeyed. On another occasion, Camby- 
ses's sister and wife, who had mourned the 
death of her brother Smerdis, ventured a re- 
proach to Cambyses for having destroyed him. 
She was sitting at table, with some plant or 
flower in her hand, which she slowly picked to 
places, putting the fragrn^nts on the table. Sh* 

8.C.523.]The End of Oambyses. 49 

Cambyses's cruelty to his sister. Hor death. 

asked Cambyses whether he thought the flower 
looked fairest and best in fragments, or in its 
original and natural integrity. " It looked 
best, certainly," Cambyses said, " when it wa« 
whole." "And yet," said she, "you have be- 
gun to take to pieces and destroy our family, as 
I have destroyed this flower." Cambyses sprang 
upon his unhappy sister, on hearing this re- 
proof, with the ferocity of a tiger. He threw 
her down and leaped upon her. The attend- 
ants succeeded in rescuing her and bearing her 
away; but she had received a fatal injury. 
She fell immediately into a premature and un- 
natural sickness, and died. 

These fits of sudden and terrible passion to 
which Cambyses was subject, were often fol- 
lowed, when they had passed by, as is usual in 
such cases, with remorse and misery ; and some- 
times the officers of Cambyses, anticipating a 
ohange in their master's feelings, did net exe- 
oute his cruel orders, but concealed the object 
of his blind and insensate vengeance until the 
paroxysm was over. They did this once in the 
case of Croesus. Croesus, who was now a ven- 
erable man, advanced in years, had beon for a 
long time the friend and faithful counselor of 

Cambvses's fathe*. He had known Cambyse* 

50 Darius the Great. [B.C. 523 

The venerable Croesus. His advice to Cambyae*. 

himself from his boyhood, and had been charged 
by his father to watch over him and counsel 
him, and aid him, on all occasions which might 
require it, with his experience and wisdom 
Cambyses, too, had been solemnly charged by 
his father Cyrus, at the last interview that he 
had with him before his death, to guard and 
protect Croesus, as his father's ancient and 
faithful friend, and to treat him, as long as he 
lived, with the highest consideration and honor. 

Under these circumstances, Croesus consid 
ered himself justified in remonstrating one day 
with Cambyses against his excesses and his 
cruelty. He told him that he ought not to give 
nimself up to the control of such violent and 
impetuous passions; that, though his Persian 
soldiers and subjects had borne with him thus 
far, he might, by excessive oppression and cru- 
elty, exhaust their forbearance and provoke 
them ( to revolt against him, and that thus he 
might suddenly lose his power, through his in- 
temperate and inconsiderate use of it. Croesus 
apologized for offering these counsels, saying 
that he felt bound to warn Cambyses of his 
danger, in obedience to the ini unctions of Cv- 
rus, his lather. 

Cambyses fell into a violent passion at hear 

B.C. 523.] The End of Cambyses. 51 

Cambyses's rage at Croesus. He attempts to kU him. 

ing these words. He told Croesus that he was 
amazed at his presumption in daring to offer 
him advice, and then began to load his vener- 
able counselor with the bitterest invectives and 
reproaches. He taunted him with his own mis- 
fortunes, in losing, as he had done, years before, 
his own kingdom of Lydia, and then accused 
him of having been the means, through his fool- 
ish counsels, of leading his father, Cyrus, into 
the worst of the difficulties which befell him to- 
ward the close of his life. At last, becoming 
more and more enraged by the reaction upon 
himself of his own angry utterance, he told 
Croesus that he had hated him for a long time, 
and for a long time had wished to punish him ; 
" and now," said he, " you have given me an 
opportunity." So saying, he seized his bow, 
and began to fit an arrow to the string. Croesus 
fled. Cambyses ordered his attendants to pur- 
sue him, and when they had taken him, to 1 ill 
him. The officers knew that Cambyses would 
regret his rash and reckless command as soon as 
his anger should have subsided, and so, instead 
of slaying Croesus, they concealed him. A few 
days after, when the tyrant began to express his 
remorse and sorrow at having destroyed his ven- 
erable friend in the heat of passion, and to mouro 

52 Darius the Great. [B.C.523 

The declaration of the oracle. Ecbatane, Susa, and Eabyloa 

his death, they told him that Croesus was stiL 
alive. They had ventured, they said, to save 
aim, till they could ascertain whether it was 
the long's real and deli berate determination that 
he must die. The king was overjoyed to rind 
Croesus still alive, but he would not forgive 
those who had been instrumental in saving him. 
He ordered every one of them to be executed. 

Cambyses was the more reckless and des- 
perate in these tyrannical cruelties because he 
believed that he possessed a sort of charmed life. 
He had consulted an oracle, it seems, in Media, 
in respect to his prospects of life, and the oracle 
had informed him that he would die at Ecbat- 
ane. Now Ecbatane was one of the three 
jreat capitals of his empire, Susa and Babylon 
fleing the others. Ecbatane was the most north- 
erly of these cities, and the most remote from 
danger. Babylon and Susa were the points 
where the great transactions of government 
chiefly centered, while Ecbatane was more par- 
ticularly the private residence of the kings. It 
was their refuge in danger, their retreat in siok* 
ness and age. In a word, Susa was their seat 
of government, Babylon their great commercial 
emporium, but Ecbatane was their home 

And thus as the oracle, when Cambvses in 

B.C.522.] The End of Cambyses. 58 

Cambyses returns northward. He enters Syria 

quired in respect to the circumstances of his 
death, had said that it was decreed by the fates 
that he should die at Ecbatane, it meant, as he 
supposed, that he should die in peace, in his 
bed, at the close of the usual period allotted to 
the life of man. Considering thus that the 
fates had removed all danger of a sudden and 
violent death from his path, he abandoned him- 
self to his career of vice and folly, remembering 
only the substance of the oracle, while the par- 
ticular form of words in which it was expressed 
passed from his mind. 

At length Cambyses, after completing his 
conquests in Egypt, returned to the northward 
along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, unti 
he came into Syria. The province of Galilee, 
so often mentioned in the sacred Scripture* 
was a part of Syria. In traversing Galilee at 
the head of the detachment of troops that was 
accompanying him, Cambyses came, one day, 
to a small town, and encamped there. The 
town itself was of so little importance that 
Cambyses did not, at the time of his arriving 
a*; it, even know its name. His encampment 
at the place, however, was marked by a very 
memorable event, namely, he met with a herald 
here, who was traveling through Syria, saying 

64 Darius thkGre at. [B.C. 522. 

A herald proclaims Srnerdis. The herald uned 

that he had been sent from Snsa to proclaim 
to the people of Syria that Srnerdis, the son of 
Cyrus, had assumed the throne, and to enjoin 
upon them all to obey no orders except such 
as should come from him ! 

Cambyses had supposed that Srnerdis was 
dead. Prexaspes, when he had returned from 
Susa, had reported that he had killed him. He 
now, however, sent for Prexaspes, and demand- 
ed of him what this proclamation could mean. 
Prexaspes renewed, and insisted upon, his dec- 
laration that Srnerdis was dead. He had de- 
stroyed him with his own hands, and had seen 
him buried. " If the dead can rise from the 
grave," added Prexaspes, " then Srnerdis may 
perhaps, raise a revolt and appear against you ; 
but not otherwise." 

Prexaspes then recommended that the king 
should send and seize the herald, and inquire 
particularly of him in respect to the govern- 
ment in whose name he was acting. Cambysee 
did so. The herald was taken and brought be- 
"ore the king. On being questioned whether it 
was true that Smsrdis had really assumed the 
government and commissioned him to make 
proclamation of the fact, he replied that it wa* 
to He had not seen Srnerdis himself, he said. 

R.C.522.J The End of Cambyses. 55 

Probable explanation. Rage of Cambyses 

for he kept himself shut up very olosely in his 
palace ; but he was informed of his accession by 
one of the magians whom Cambyses had left in 
command It was by him, he said, that he had 
oeen commissioned to proclaim Smerdis as king. 

Frexaspes then said that he had no doubt 
that the two magians whom Cambyses had left 
in charge of the government had contrived to 
seize the throne. He reminded Cambyses that 
the name of one of them was Smerdis, and that 
probably that was the Smerdis who was usurp- 
ing the supreme command. C ambyses said that 
he was convinced that this supposition was 
true. His dream, in which he had seen a vision 
of Smerdis, with his head reaching to the heav- 
ens, referred, he had no doubt, to the magian 
Smerdis, and not to his brother. He began bit- 
terly to reproach himself for having caused his 
innocent brother to be put to death; but the 
remorse which he thus felt for his crime, in as- 
sassinating an imaginary rival, soon gave way 
to rage and resentment against the real usurp- 
er He called for his horse, and began to mount 
him in hot haste, to give immediate orders, and 
make immediate preparations for marching to 

As he bounded into the saddle, with his mind 

56 Darius the Great. [B.C 523 

Cambyses mortally wounded. Hit remorse and despair 

in this state of reckless desperation, the sheath, 
by some accident or by some carelessness caus- 
ed by his headlong haste, fell from his sword, 
and the naked point of the weapon pierced hia 
thigh. The attendants took him from his horse, 
and convey eu him again to his tent. The wound, 
on examination, proved to be a very dangerous 
one, and the strong passions, the vexation, the 
disappointment, the impotent rage, which were 
agitating the mind of the patient, exerted an 
influence extremely unfavorable to recovery. 
Cambyses, terrified at the prospect of death, 
asked what was the name of the town where 
he was lying. They told him it was Ecbatane. 

He had never thought before of the possibil- 
ity that there might be some other Ecbatane 
besides his splendid royal retreat in Media ; but 
now, when he learned that was the name of the 
place where he was then encamped, he felt sure 
that his hour was come, and he was overwhelm- 
ed with remorse and despair. 

He suffered, too, inconceivable pain and an- 
guish from his wound. The sword had pierced 
to the bone, and the inflammation which had 
supervened was of the worst character. Aftei 
gome days, the acuteness of the agony which he 
at first endured passed gradually away, thougb 

B.C. 522.] The End of Cambvses. 57 

Cambyses calls his nobles about him. His dying declaration 

the extent of the injury resulting from the 
wound was growing every day greater and more 
hopeless. The sufferer lay, pale, emaciated, 
and wretched, on his couch, his mind, in every 
interval of bodily agony, filling up the void with 
the more dreadful sufferings of horror and de- 

At length, on the twentieth day after his 
wound had been received, he called the leading 
nobles of his court and officers of his army about 
his bedside, and said to them that he was about 
to die, and that he was compelled, by the calam- 
ity which had befallen him, to declare to them 
what he would otherwise have continued to keep 
concealed. The person who had usurped the 
throne under the name of Smerdis, he now said, 
was not, and could not be, his brother Smerdis, 
the son of Cyrus. He then proceeded to give 
them an account of the manner in which his 
fears in respect to his brother had been excited 
by his dream, and of the desperate remedy that 
he had resorted to in ordering him to be killed. 
He believed, he said, that the usurper was Smer- 
dis the magian, whom he had left as one of the 
regents when he set out on his Egyptian cam- 
paign. He urged them, therefore, not to sub- 
mit to his sway, but to go back to Media, and 

58 Darius the Great. [B.C 522 

Death of Cambyaes. Ilia dying declaration dlacredltad, 

if they could not conquer him and put him down 
by open war, to destroy him by deceit and strata- 
gem, or in any way whatever by which the end 
could be accomplished. Cambyses urged thi* 
with so much of the spirit of hatred and revenge 
beaming in his hollow and glassy eye as to show 
that sickness, pain, and the approach of death, 
which had made so total a change in the wretch- 
ed sufferer's outward condition, had altered noth- 
ing within. 

Very soon after making this communication 
jo his nobles, Cambyses expired. 

It will well illustrate the estimate which 
those who knew him best, formed of this great 
hero's character, to state, that those who heard 
this solemn declaration did not beiieve one word 
of it from beginning to end. They supposed 
that the whole story which the dying tyrant 
had told them, although he had scarcely breath 
enough left to tell it, was a fabrication, dictated 
by his fraternal jealousy and hate. They be- 
lieved that it was really the true Smerdis who 
had been proclaimed king, and that Cambysee 
had invented, in his dying moments, the story 
of his having killed him, in order to prevent 
the Persians from submitting peaceably to his 

B.C. 520.] Smerdis the Magian. 59 

Usurpation of the magians. Circumstance* favoring II. 

Chapter IIL 
Smerdis the Magian. 

CAMBYSES and his friends had been right 
in their conjectures that it was Smerdis 
the magian who had usurped the Persian throne 
This Smerdis resembled, it was said, the son of 
Cyrus in his personal appearance as well as in 
name. The other magian who had been asso- 
ciated with him in the regency when Cambyses 
set out from Persia on his Egyptian campaign 
was his brother. His name was Patizithes. 
When Cyrus had been some time absent, these 
magians, having in the mean time, perhaps, 
heard unfavorable accounts of his conduct and 
character, and knowing the effect which such 
wanton tyranny must have in alienating from 
him the allegiance of his subjects, conceived 
the design of taking possession of the empire in 
thoir own name. The great distance of Canv 
byses and his army from home, and his long- 
continued absence, favored this plan. Their 
own position, too, as they were already in pos- 
session of the capitals and the fortresses of the 

60 Darius the Great. [B.C. 520 

Murder of Smerdis not known. He la supposed to be alive 

country, aided them; and then the name of 
fcmerdis, being the same with that of the brothei 
of Cambyses, was a circumstance that greatly 
promoted the success of the undertaking. In 
addition to all these general advantages, the 
cruelty of Cambyses was the means of furnish- 
ing them with a most opportune occasion for 
putting their plans into execution. 

The reader will recollect that, as was related 
in the last chapter, Cambyses first sent his 
brother Smerdis home, and afterward, when 
alarmed by his dream, he sent Prexaspes to 
murder him. Now the return of Smerdis was 
publicly and generally known, while hi;? as- 
sassination by Prexaspes was kept a profr and 
secret. Even the Persians connected with 
Cambyses's court in Egypt had not heard of 
the perpetration of this crime, until Cambyses 
confessed it on his dying bed, and even then, 
as was stated in the last chapter, they did not 
believe it. It is not probable that it was known 
in Media and Persia ; so that, after Prexaspes 
accomplished his work, and returned to Cam- 
byses with the report of it, it was probably gen- 
erally supposed that his brother was still aliv« ; 
and was residing somewhere in one or anotb** 
•f the royal palaces 

If C. 520.] Smerdis the Magi an. 61 

Precautions taken by Smerdis. Effect of Cambyses's measures 

Such royal personages were often accustom- 
ed to live thus, in a state of great seclusion, 
spending their time in effeminate pleasure* 
within the walls of their palaces, parks, and 
gardens. When the royal Smerdis, therefore, 
secretly and suddenly disappeared, it would ba 
very easy for the magian Smerdis, with the col- 
lusion of a moderate number of courtiers and 
attendants, to take his place, especially if he 
continued to live in retirement, and exhibited 
himself as little as possible to public view. 
Thus it was that Cambyses himself, by the 
very crimes which he committed to shield him- 
self from all danger of a revolt, opened the way 
which specially invited it, and almost insured 
its success. Every particular step that be took, 
too, helped to promote the end. His sending 
Smerdis home ; his waiting an interval, and 
then sending Prexaspes to destroy him ; his or- 
dering his assassination to be secret — these, and 
all the other attendant circumstances, were 
only so many preliminary steps, preparing the 
way for the success of the revolution which was 
to accomplish his ruin. He was, in a word, his 
own destroyer. Like other wicked men, he 
found, in the end, that the schemes of wicked- 
ness which he had malignantly aimed at the 

62 Darius the Great. [B C. 520 

Opinion in regard to Smerdis. Acquiescence of the people 

destruction of others, had been all the time slow- 
ly and surely working out his own. 

The people of Persia, therefore, were prepar* 
od by Cambyses's own acts to believe that the 
usurper Smerdis was really Cyrus's son, and, 
next to Cambyses, the heir to the throne. The 
army of Cambyses, too, in Egypt, believed the 
game. It was natural that they should do so 
for they placed no confidence whatever in Cam- 
byses's dying declarations ; and since intelli 
gence, which seemed to be official, came from 
Susa declaring that Smerdis was still alive, and 
that he had actually taken possession of the 
throne, there was no apparent reason for doubt- 
ing the fact. Besides, Prexaspes, as soon a* 
Cambyses was dead, considered it safer for him 
to deny than to confess having murdered the 
prince. He therefore declared that Cambyses's 
story was false, and that he had no doubt that 
Smerdis, the monarch in whose name the gov- 
ernment was administered at Susa, was the son 
of Cyrus, the true and rightful heir to the 
throne. Thus all parties throughout the em- 
pire acquiesced peaceably in what they suppos- 
ed to be the legitimate succession. 

In the mean time, the usurper had placed 
himself in an exceedingly dizzy and precarious 

B.C. 520.] Smerdis the Magi an. 63 

Dangerous situation of Smerdis. Arrangement with Patizithes. 

situation, and one which it would require a 
great deal of address and skillful management 
to sustain. The plan arranged between him- 
self and his brother for a division of the advant- 
ages which they had secured by their joint and 
common curining was, that Smerdis was to en- 
joy the ease and pleasure, and Patizithes the 
substantial power of the royalty which they had 
so stealthily seized. This was the safest plan. 
Smerdis, by living secluded, and devoting him- 
self to retired and private pleasures, was the 
more likely to escape public observation ; while 
Patizithes, acting as his prime minister of state, 
could attend councils, issue orders, review troops, 
dispatch embassies, and perform all the other 
outward functions of supreme command, with 
safety as well as pleasure. Patizithes seems to 
have been, in fact, the soul of the whole plan 
He was ambitious and aspiring in character, 
and if he could only himself enjoy the actual 
exercise of royal power, he was willing that his 
brother should enjoy the honor of possessing it 
Patizithos, therefore, governed the realm, act* 
ing, however, in all that he did, in Smerdis'a 

Smerdis, on his part, was content to take 
possession of the palaces, the parks, and the 

64 Darius the Great. [B.C. 520. 

Smerdis lives in retirement. Special grounds of apprehension. 

gardens of Media and Persia, and to live in them 
in retired and quiet luxury and splendor. He 
appeared seldom in public, and then only under 
such circumstances as should not expose him 
to any close observation on the part of the spec- 
tators. His figure, air, and manner, and the 
general cast of his countenance, were very much 
like those of the prince whom he was attempt- 
ing to personate. There was one mark, how- 
ever, by which he thought that there was dan- 
ger that he might be betrayed, and that was, 
his ears had been cut off. This had been done 
many years before, by command of Cyrus, on 
account of some offense of which he had been 
guilty. The marks of the mutilation could, in- 
deed, on public occasions, be concealed by the 
turban, or helmet, or other head-dress which he 
wore ; but in private there was great danger ei- 
ther that the loss of the ears, or the studied ef- 
fort to conceal it, should be observed. Smerdis 
was, therefore, very careful to avoid being seen 
in private, by keeping himself closely secluded 
He shut himself up in the apartments of hit 
palace at Susa, within the citadel, and ne\ei 
Invited the Persian nobles to visit hirr there. 

Among the other means of luxury and pleas- 
are which Smerdis found in the royal palaces, 

B.C. 520.] Smerdis the Magi an. 65 

Cambyses's wives. Smerdis appropriates tbem 

and which he appropriated to his own enjoy- 
ment, were Cambyses's wives. In those times, 
Oriental prmces and potentates — as is, in fact, 
the case at the present day, in many Oriental 
o» >untries — possessed a great number of wives, 
who were bound to them by different sorts of 
matrimonial ties, more or less permanent, and 
bringing them into relations more or less inti- 
mate with their husband and sovereign. These 
wives were in many respects in the condition 
of slaves : in one particular they were especial- 
ly so, namely, that on the death of a sovereign 
they descended, like any other property, to the 
heir, who added as many of them as he pleased 
to his own seraglio. Until this was done, the 
unfortunate women were shut up in close se- 
clusion on the death of their lord, like mourn- 
ers who retire from the world when suffering 
any great and severe bereavement. 

The wives of Cambyses were appropriated by 
Smerdis to himself on his taking possession of 
the throne and hearing of Cambyses's death. 
Among them was Atossa, who has already been 
mentioned as the daughter of Cyrus, and, of 
course, the sister of Oambyses as well as his 
wife. In order to prevent these court ladies 

from being the means, in any way, of discover 

66 Darius the Great. [B.C.520 

Phadjrma. Measures of Ouuim 

hag the imposture which he was practicing, the 
magian continued to keep them all closely shut 
up in their several separate apartments, only 
allowing a favored few to visit him, one by one, 
in turn, while he prevented their having any 
communication with one another. 

The name of one of these ladies was Pheedy- 
ma. She was the daughter of a Persian noble 
of the highest rank and influence, named Ota- 
nes. Otanes, as well as some other nobles of 
the court, had observed and reflected upon the 
extraordinary circumstances connected with the 
accession of Smerdis to the throne, and the sin- 
gular mode of life that he led in secluding him- 
self, in a manner so extraordinary for a Persian 
monarch, from all intercourse with his nobles 
and his people. The suspicions of Otanes and 
his associates were excited, but no one dared to 
communicate his thoughts to the others. At 
length, however, Otanes, who was a man of 
great energy as well as sagacity and discretion, 
resolved that he would take some measures U 
ascertain the truth. 

He first sent a messenger to Phaedyma, fail 
♦laughter, asking of her whether it was really 
Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, who reoeived her 
when she went to visit the king. Phaedvma. 

B.C. 520.] Smerdis the Magian. 67 

Otanes's communications with his daughter. Her repliea 

in return, sent her father word that she did not 
know, for she had never seen Smerdis, the son 
of Cyrus, before the death of Cambyses. She 
therefore could not say, of her own personal 
knowledge, whether the king was the genuine 
Smerdis or not. Otanes then sent to Phaedyma 
a second time, requesting her to ask the queen 
Atossa. Atossa was the sister of Smerdis the 
prince, and had known him from his childhood. 
Phaedyma sent back word to her father that 
she could not speak to Atossa, for she was kept 
closely shut up in her own apartments, without 
the opportunity to communicate with any one 
Otanes then sent a third time to his daughter, 
telling her that there was one remaining mode 
by which she might ascertain the truth, and 
that was, the next time that she visited the 
king, to feel for his ears when he was asleep. 
If it was Smerdis the magian, she would find 
that he had none. He urged his daughter to 
do this by saying that, if the pretended king 
was really an impostor, the imposture ought to 
be made known, and that she, being of noble 
birth, ought to have the courage and energy to 
assist in discovering it. To this Phsedyma re- 
plied that she would do as her father desired, 
though she knew that she hazarded her life in 

68 Darius the Great. [B.C. 520 

Phaedyma discovers the deception. Otanes and the tix noble* 

the attempt. " If he has no ears," said she, 
44 and if I awaken him in attempting to feel for 
them, he will kill me ; I am sure that he will 
kill me on the spot." 

The next time that it came to Phsedyma's 
turn to visit the king, she did as her father had 
requested. She passed her hand very cautious- 
ly beneath the king's turban, and found that his 
ears had been cut off close to his head. Early 
in the morning she communicated the knowl- 
edge of the fact to her father. 

Otanes immediately made the case known 
to two of his friends, Persian nobles, who had, 
with him, suspected the imposture, and had 
consulted together before in respect to the means 
of detecting it. The question was, what was 
now to be done. After some deliberation, it was 
agreed that each of them should communicate 
the discovery which they had made to one other 
person, such as each should select from among 
the circle of his friends as the one on whose res- 
olution, prudence, and fidelity he could most im- 
Oiicitly rely. This was done, and the numbei 
swlmitted to the secret was thus increased to 
OX. At this juncture it happened that Darius, 
the son of Hystaspes, the young man who has 
already been mentioned as the subject of Cy< 


B.C. 520.] Smerdis the Maoian. 71 

Arrival of Darius. Secret consultations. 

rus's dream, came to Susa. Darius was a man 
of great prominence and popularity. His father, 
Hystaspes, was at that time the governor of the 
province of Persia, and Darius had been re- 
siding with him in that country. As soon as 
the six conspirators heard of his arrival, they 
admitted him to their councils, and thus their 
number was increased to seven. 

They immediately began to hold secret con- 
sultations for the purpose of determining how 
it was best to proceed, first binding themselves 
by the most solemn oaths never to betray one 
another, however their undertaking might end. 
Darius told them that he had himself discovered 
the imposture and usurpation of Smerdis, and 
that he had come from Persia for the purpose 
of slaying him ; and that now, since it appeared 
that the secret was known to so many, he was 
of opinion that they ought to act at once with 
the utmost decision. He thought there would 
be great danger in delay. 

Otanes, on the other hand, thought that thej" 
were not yet ready for action. They must first 
'ncrease their numbers. Seven persons were 
joo few to attempt to revolutionize an empire. 
He commended the courage and resolution 
which Darius displayed, but he thought that a 

72 Darius the Great. [B.C.520 

Various opinions. Views of Darios 

more cautious and deliberate policy would be 
for more likely to conduct them to a safe result. 

Darius replied that the course which Otanee 
recommended would certainly ruin them. "If 
we make many other persons acquainted with 
our plans," said he, " there will be some, not- 
withstanding all our precautions, who will be- 
tray us, for the sake of the immense rewards 
which they well know they would receive in 
that case from the king. No," he added, " we 
must act ourselves, and alone. We must do 
nothing to excite suspicion, but must go at once 
into the palace, penetrate boldly into Smerdis's 
presence, and slay him before he has time to 
suspect our designs." 

" But we can not get into his presence," re- 
plied Otanes. " There are guards stationed 
at eveijy gate and door, who will not allow us 
to pass. If we attempt to kill them, a tumult 
will be immediately raised, and the alarm given, 
and all our designs will thus be battled." 

" There will be little difficulty about the 
guards," said Darius. " They know us all, and, 
from deference to our rank and station, they 
will let us pass without suspicion, especially if 
we act boldly and promptly, and do not j^ive 
tliem time to stop and consider what to do 

B.C. 520.] Smerdis thk Magian. 73 

Apology for a falsehood. Opinion of Gobryaa. 

Besides, I can say that I have just arrived from 
Persia with important dispatches for the king, 
and that I must be admitted immediately into 
(lis presence. If a falsehood must be told, so 
.et it be. The urgency of the crisis demands 
and sanctions it." 

It may seem strange to the reader, consider- 
ing the ideas and habits of the times, that Da- 
rius should have even thought it necessary to 
apologize to his confederates for his proposal of 
employing falsehood in the accomplishment of 
their plans ; and it is, in fact, altogether prob- 
able that the apology which he is made to utter 
is his historian's, and not his own. 

The other conspirators had remained silen* 
during this discussion between Darius and Ota- 
nes ; but now a third, whose name was Gobry- 
as, expressed his opinion in favor of the course 
which Darius recommended. He was aware, 
he said, that, in attempting to force their way 
into the king's presence and kill him by a sud- 
den assault, they exposed themselves to the 
most imminent danger ; but it was better for 
them to die in the manly attempt to bring back 
the imperial power again into Persian hands, 
where it properly belonged, than to acquiesce 
any further in its continuance in the possession 

/4 Darius the Great. [B.C. 520 

UaeaatDeu of the magi Situation of Prex&spe* 

of the ignoble Median priests who had so treach- 
erously usurped it. 

To this counsel they all finally agreed, and 
began to make arrangements for carrying their 
desperate enterprise into execution. 

In the mean time, very extraordinary events 
were transpiring in another part of the city 
The two magi, Smerdis the king and Patizithes 
his brother, had some cause, it seems, to fear 
that the nobles about the court, and the officers 
of the Persian army, were not without suspi- 
cions that the reigning monarch was not the 
real son of Cyrus. Rumors that Smerdis had 
been killed by Prexaspes, at the command of 
Cambyses, were in circulation. These rumors 
were contradicted, it is true, in private, by 
Prexaspes, whenever he was forced to speak of 
the subjeot ; but he generally avoided it ; and 
he spoke, when he spoke at all, in that timid 
and undecided tone which men usually assume 
when they are persisting in a lie. In the mean 
time, the gloomy recollections of his past life, 
he memory of his murdered son, remorse for 
his own crime in the assassination of Smerdis, 
and anxiety on account of the extremely dan- 
gerous position in which he had placed himself 
by his false denial of it, all conspired to harass 

B.C. 520.] Smerdis the Magi an. 75 

Measures of the magi. An assembly of the people 

his mind with perpetual restlessness and mis- 
ery, and to make life a burden. 

In order to do something to quiet the suspi- 
oions which the magi feared were prevailing, 
they did not know how extensively, they con- 
ceived the plan of inducing Prexaspes to declare 
In a more publio and formal manner what he 
had been asserting timidly in private, namely, 
that Smerdis had not been killed. They ac- 
cordingly convened an assembly of the people in 
a court-yard of the palace, or perhaps took ad- 
vantage of some gathering casually convened, 
and proposed that Prexaspes should address 
them from a neighboring tower. Prexaspes was 
a man of high rank and of great influence, and 
the magi thought that his publio espousal of 
their cause, and his open and decided contra- 
diction of the rumor that he had killed Camby- 
ses's brother, would fully convince the Persians 
that it was really the rightful monarch that had 
taken possession of the throne. 

But the strength even of a strong man, when 
he has a lie to carry, soon becomes very smalL 
That of Prexaspes was already almost exhaust- 
ed and gone. He had been wavering and hes- 
itating before, and this proposal, that he should 
•ommit himself so formally and solemnly, and 

76 D a r i u s i h e Great. [B C 520 

Decision of Prexaspes. Hie speech from the tow* 

in so public a manner, to statements wholly 
and absolutely untrue, brought him to a *tand. 
He decided, desperately, in his own mind, that 
he would go on in his course of falsehood, re- 
morse, and wretchedness no longer. He, how. 
ever, pretended to accede to the propositions of 
the magi. He ascended the tower, and began 
to address the people. Instead, however, of de- 
nying that he had murdered Smerdis, he fully 
confessed to the astonished audience that he had 
really committed that crime ; he openly de- 
nounced the reigning Smerdis as an impostor, 
and called upon all who heard him to rise at 
onoe, destroy the treacherous usurper, and vin- 
dicate the rights of the true Persian line. As 
he went on, with vehement voice and gestures, 
in this speech, the utterance of which he knew 
sealed his own destruction, he became more and 
more excited and reckless. He denounced his 
hearers in the severest language if they failed 
to obey his injunctions, and imprecated upon 
them, in that event, all the curses of Heaven. 
The people listened to this strange and sudden 
phrensy cl eloquence in utter amazement, mo- 
tionless and silent ; and before they or the offi- 
cers of the king's household who were present 
had time even to oonsider what to do, Prexju* 

B.C. 520.] Smerdis the Magian. 77 

Death of Prexaspes. The conspirator* 

pes, coming abruptly to the conclusion of his 
harangue, threw himself headlong from the 
parapet of the tower, and came down among 
them, lifeless and mangled, on the pavement 

Of course, all was now tumult and commo- 
tion in the court-yard, and it happened to be 
just at this juncture that the seven conspira- 
tors came from the place of their consultation 
to the palace, with a view of executing their 
plans. They were soon informed of what had 
taken place. Otanes was now again disposed 
to postpone their attempt upon the life of the 
king. The event which had occurred changea, 
he said, the aspect of the subject, and they must 
wait until the tumult and excitement should 
have somewhat subsided. But Darius was 
more eager than ever in favor of instantaneous 
action. He said that there was not a moment 
to be lost ; for the magi, so soon as they should 
be informed of the declarations and of the death 
of Prexaspes, would bo alarmed, and would take 
at once the most effectual precautions to guard 
against any sudden assault or surprise. 

These arguments, at the very time in whioh 
Darius was offering them with so much vehe- 
mence and earnestness, were strengthened by a 

78 Darius the Great. [B.C.520 

The omen. The conspirators enter the palace 

▼ery singular sort of confirmation ; for while the 
conspirators stood undetermined, they saw a 
flock of birds moving across the sky, which, on 
their more attentively regarding them, proved tt 
be seven hawks pursuing two vultures. This 
they regarded an omen, intended to signify U 
them, by a divine intimation, that they ought to 
prooeed. They hesitated, therefore, no longer. 
They went together to the outer gates of the 
palace. The action of the guards who were 
Btationed there was just what Darius had pre- 
dicted that it would be. Awed by the imposing 
spectacle of the approach of seven nobles of the 
highest distinction, who were advancing, too, 
with an earnest and confident air, as if expect- 
ing no obstacle to their admission, they gave 
way at once, and allowed them to enter. The 
conspirators went on until they came to the 
inner apartments, where they found eunuchs 
in attendance at the doors. The eunuchs re- 
sisted, and demanded angrily why the guards 
had let the strangers in. "Kill them," said 
the conspirators, and immediately began to cut 
them down. The magi were within, already 
in consternation at the disclosures of Prexaspes, 
of which they had just been inform^ They 
heard the tumult and the outcries of the eu 

B.C. 520.] Smerdis the Magi an. 79 

Combat with the magi. Flight of Smerdla. 

_____ . : , t 

nuchs at the doors, and seized their arras, the 
one a bow and the other a spear. The conspir- 
ators rushed in. The bow was useless in the 
close combat which ensued, and the magian 
who had taken it turned and fled. The other 
defended himself with his spear for a moment, 
and wounded severely two of his assailants. 
The wounded conspirators fell. Three others 
of the number continued the unequal combat 
with the armed magian, while Darius and Gro- 
bryas rushed in pursuit of the other. 

The flying magian ran from one apartment 
to another until he reached a dark room, into 
which the blind instinct of fear prompted him 
to rush, in the vain hope of concealment. Go- 
bryas was foremost; he seized the wretched 
fugitive by the waist, and struggled to hold him, 
while the magian struggled to get free. Go- 
bryas called upon Darius, who was close behind 
him, to strike. Darius, brandishing his sword, 
looked earnestly into the obscure retreat, that 
he might see where to strike. 

" Strike !" exclaimed Gobryas. " Why do 
jya not strike ?" 

"I can not see," said Darius, "and I am 
afraid of wounding you." 

11 No matter," said Gobryas, struggling dos» 

80 Darius tub Great. [B.C. 520 

Smardia Is killed. Exultation of the conspirator* 

perately all the time with his frantio victim 
" Strike quick, if you kill us both." 

Darius struck. Gobryas loosened his hold, 
and the magian fell upon the floor, and there, 
itabbed again through the heart by Darius's 
sword, almost immediately ceased to breathe. 

They dragged the body to the light, and cut 
off the head. They did the same with the other 
magian, whom they found that their confeder- 
ates had killed when they returned to the apart- 
ments where they had left them contending. 
The whole body of the conspirators then, except 
the two who were wounded, exulting in their 
success, and wild with the excitement which 
such deeds always awaken, went forth into the 
streets of the city, bearing the heads upon pikes 
as the trophies of their victory. They sum- 
moned the Persian soldiers to arms, and an- 
nounced every where that they had ascertained 
that the king was a priest and an impostor, and 
not their legitimate sovereign, and that they 
had consequently killed him. They called upon 
the people to kill the magians wherever thej 
could find them, as if the whole class were im- 
plicated in the guilt of the usurping brothers. 

The populace in all countries are easily ex- 
cited by such denunciations and appeals as 

B.C. 520.] Smerdis the Magi an. 81 

General massacre of the magians. 

these. The Persians armed themselves, and 
ran to and fro every where in pursuit of the 
unhappy magians, and hefore night fast num- 
bers of them wew slain, 

32 Darius the Great. [B.C. 520 

C*bA»1ob it Sasa. No heir to the thron* 

Chapter IV. 
The Accession of Darius. 

FOR several days after the assassination of 
the magi the city was filled with excite- 
ment, tumults, and confusion. There was no 
heir, of the family of Cyrus, entitled to succeed 
to the vacant throne, for neither Cambyses, nor 
Smerdis his brother, had left any sons. Thero 
was, indeed, a daughter of Smerdis, named Par- 
mys, and there were also still living two daugh- 
ters of Cyrus. One was Atossa, whom we have 
already mentioned as having been married to 
Cambyses, her brother, and as having been aft- 
erward taken by Smerdis the magian as one of 
his wives. These princesses, though of royal 
lineage, seem neither of them to have been dis- 
posed to assert any claims to the throne at such 
a crisis. The mass of the community were 
•tupefied with astonishment at the sudden rer- 
olution which had occurred. Nc movement waa 
made toward determining the succession. For 
five days nothing was done. 

During this period, all the subordinate func- 

B.C. 520.] Accession op Darius. 83 

Five days' interregnum. Provisional government. 

tions of government in the provinces, cities, and 
towns, and among the various garrisons and 
encampments of the army, went on, of oourse, 
as usual, but the general administration of the 
government had no head. The seven confeder- 
ates had been regarded, for the time being, as 
a sort of provisional government, the army and 
the country in general, so far as appears, look- 
ing to them for the means of extrication from 
the political difficulties in which this sudden 
revolution had involved them, and submitting, 
in the mean time, to their direction ax/i control. 
Such a state of things, it was obvi/os, could 
not long last; and after five days, when the 
commotion had somewhat subsided, they began 
to consider it necessary to make some arrange- 
ments of a more permanent character, the pow- 
er to make such arrangements as they thougnt 
best resting with them alone. They accord- 
ingly met for consultation. 

Herodotus the historian,* on whose narrative 
of these events we have mainly to rely for all 

• An account of Herodotus, and of the circumstance "ndar 
which he wrote his history, which will aid the reader very 
much in forming an opinion in respect to the kind and degree 
of confidence which it is proper to place in his statement*, 
will be found in the first chapter of our history «* Cyrua tin 

84 Darius the Great. [B.C. 520 

Consultation of the confederates. Otanes in favor of a republic 

the information respecting them which is now 
to be attained, gives a very minute and drama* 
tic account of the deliberations of the conspira* 
tors on this occasion. The account is, in fact, 
too dramatic to be probably true. 

Otanes, in this discussion, was in favor of 
establishing a republic He did not think it 
safe or wise to intrust the supreme power again 
to any single individual. It was proved, he 
said, by universal experience, that when any 
one person was raised to such an elevation above 
his fellow-men, he became suspicious, jealous, 
insolent, and cruel. He lost all regard for the 
welfare and happiness of others, and became su- 
premely devoted to the preservation of his own 
greatness and power by any means, however 
tyrannical, and to the accomplishment of the 
purposes of his own despotic will. The best 
and most valuable citizens were as likely to be- 
come the victims of his oppression as the worst 
In fact, tyrants generally chose their favorites, 
he said, from among the most abandoned men 
and women in their realms, such characters be- 
ing the readiest instruments of their guilty 
pleasures and their crimes. Otanes referred 
very particularly to the case of Cambyses as an 
example of the extreme lengths to which th* 

B.C. 520.] Accession op Darius. 85 

Otvies'S republic. Principles of representation. 

despotic insolence and cruelty of a tyrant could 
go He reminded his colleagues of the suffer- 
ings and terrors which they had endured while 
under his sway, and urged them very strongly 
not to expose themselves to such terrible evils 
and dangers again. He proposed, therefore, 
that they should establish a republic, under 
which the officers of government should be elect- 
ed, and questions of public policy be determin- 
ed, in assemblies of the people. 

It must be understood, however, by the 
reader, that a republic, as contemplated and 
intended by Otanes in this speech, was en- 
irely different from the mode of government 
which that word denotes at the present day. 
They had little idea, in those times, of the prin- 
ciple of representation, by which the thousand 
separate and detached communities of a great 
empire can choose delegates, who are to delib- 
erate, speak, and act for them in the assemblies 
where the great governmental deoisions are ul- 
timately made. By this principle of represent- 
ation, the people can really all share in the 
exercise of power. Without it they can not, 
for it is impossible that the people of a great 
state can ever be brought together in one as- 
sembly ; nor, even if it were practicable to bring 

86 Darius the Great. [B.C. 520 

Large assemblies. Nature of ancient republics 

them thus together, would it be possible for 
such a concourse to deliberate or act. The ac- 
tion of any assembly which goes beyond a very 
few hundred in numbers, is always, in fact, the 
action exclusively of the small knot of leaders 
who call and manage it. Otanes, therefore, as 
well as all other advocates of republican gov- 
ernment in ancient times, meant that the su- 
preme power should be exercised, not by the 
great mass of the people included within the 
jurisdiction in question, but by such a portion 
of certain privileged classes as could bo brought 
together in the capital. It was such a sort of 
republio as would be formed in this country if 
the affairs of the country at large, and the muni- 
cipal and domestic institutions of all the states, 
were regulated and controlled by laws enacted, 
and by governors appointed, at great municipal 
meetings held in the city of New York. 

This was, in fact, the nature of all the re- 
publics of ancient times. They were generally 
small, and the city in whose free citizens the 
supreme power resided, constituted by far the 
most important portion of the body politic. The 
Roman republic, however, became at one pe- 
riod very large. It overspread almost the whole 
of Europe ; but, widely extended as it was u> 

B.C. 520.] Accession op Darius. 87 

Nature of a representative republic. 

territory, and comprising innumerable states 
and kingdoms within its jurisdiction, the vast 
concentration of power by which the whole was 
governed, vested entirely and exclusively in 
noisy and tumultuous assemblies convened in 
the Roman forum. 

Even if the idea of a representative system 
of government, such as is adopted in modern 
times, and by means of which the people of a 
great and extended empire can exercise, con- 
veniently and efficiently, a general sovereignty 
held in common by them all, had been under- 
stood in ancient times, it is very doubtful wheth- 
er it could, in those times, have been carried into 
effect, for want of certain facilities which are 
enjoyed in the present age, and which seem es- 
sential for the safe and easy action of so vast 
and complicated a system as a great represent- 
ative government must necessarily be. The 
regular transaction of business at publio meet- 
ings, and the orderly and successful manage- 
ment of any extended system of elections, re- 
quires a great deal of writing ; and the general 
circulation of newspapers, or something exer- 
cising the great function which it is the object 
of newspapers to fulfill, that of keeping the peo- 
ple at large in some degree informed in respect 

88 Darius the Great. [B.C 520 

Megabyras He opposes the plan of Otanes 

to the progress of publio affairs, seems essential 
to the successful working of a system of repre- 
sentative government comprising any consid 
erable extent of territory. 

However this may be, whether a great rep- 
resentative system would or would not have 
been practicable in anoient times if it had been 
tried, it is certain that it was never tried. In 
all anoient republics, the sovereignty resided, es- 
sentially, in a privileged class of the people uf 
the capital. The territories governed were 
provinces, held in subjection as dependencies, 
and compelled to pay tribute ; and this was the 
plan which Otanes meant to advocate when rec- 
ommending a republic, in the Persian council. 

The name of the second speaker in this cel- 
ebrated consultation was Megabyzus. He op- 
posed the plan of Otanes. He concurred fully, 
he said, in all that Otanes had advanced in re- 
spect to the evils of a monarchy, and to the op- 
pression and tyranny to which a people were 
exposed whose liberties and lives were subject 
tc ft'.e despotic control of a single human wilL 
But in order to avoid one extreme, it was not 
necessary to run into the evils of the other. 
The disadvantages and dangers of popular con- 
trol in the management of the affairs of stat© 

B.C. 520.J Accession of Darius. 89 

Speech of Megabyzus. He proposes an oligarchy 

were scarcely less than those of a despotism 
Popular assemblies were always, he said, tur 
bulent, passionate, capricious Their decisions 
were controlled by artful and designing dema- 
gogues. It was not possible that masses of the 
common people could have either the sagaoity 
to form wise counsels, or the energy and stead- 
iness to exeoute them. There could be no de- 
liberation, no calmness, no secrecy in their con- 
sul tations. A populace was always governed 
by excitements, which spread among them by 
a common sympathy ; and they would give war 
impetuously to the most senseless impulses, as 
they were urged by their fear, their resentment, 
their exultation, their hate, or by any other 
passing emotion of the hour. 

Megabyzus therefore disapproved of both a 
monarchy and a republic. He recommended 
an oligarchy. " We are now," said he, " al- 
ready seven. Let us select from the leading 
nobles in the court and officers of the army a 
email number of men, eminent for talents and 
virtue, and thus form a select and competent 
body of men, which shall be the depository of 
the supreme power. Such a plan avoids the 
evils and inconveniences of both the other sys- 
tems. There can be no tyranny or oppression 

90 Darius the Great. [B.0.520 

Speech of Dariua. He advocates a monarchy 

under such a system ; for, if any one of so large 
a number should be inclined to abuse his pow- 
er, he will be restrained by the rest. On the 
other hand, the number will not be so large as 
to preclude prudence and deliberation in coun- 
sel, and the highest efficiency and energy in 
carrying counsels into effect. ,, 

When Megabyzus had completed his speech, 
Darius expressed his opinion. He said that the 
arguments of those who had already spoken ap- 
peared plausible, but that the speakers had not 
dealt quite fairly by the different systems whose 
merits they had discussed, since they had com- 
pared a good administration of one form of gov- 
ernment with a bad administration of anothei. 
Every thing human was, he admitted, subject 
to imperfection and liable to abuse ; but on the 
supposition that each of the three forms which 
had been proposed were equally well adminis- 
tered, the advantage, he thought, would be 
strongly on the side of monarchy. Control ex 
ercised by a single mind and will was far mon 
concentrated and efficient than that proceeding 
from any conceivable combination. The form 
ing of plans could be, in that case, more secret 
and wary, and the execution of them more im- 
mediate and prompt. Where power was lodg. 

B.C.520.J Accession of Darius. 91 

Four of the seven confederates concur with Darius. 

ed in many hands, all energetic exercise of it 
was paralyzed by the dissensions, the animosi- 
ties and the contending struggles of envious 
and jealous rivals. These struggles, in fact, 
usually resulted in the predominance of som© 
one, more energetic or more successful than the 
rest, the aristocracy or the democracy running 
thus, of its own accord, to a despotism in the 
end, showing that there were natural causes 
always tending to the subjection of nations of 
men to the control of one single will. 

Besides all this, Darius added, in conclusion, 
that the Persians had always been accustomed 
to a monarchy, and it would be a very danger- 
ous experiment to attempt to introduce a new 
system, which would require so great a change 
in all the habits and usages of the people. 

Thus the consultation went on. At the end 
cf it, it appeared that four out of the seven 
agreed with Darius in preferring a monarchy 
This was a majority, and thus the question 
seemed to be settled. Otanes said that ha 
would make no opposition to any measures 
which they might adopt to carry their decision 
into effect, but that he would not himself be 
subject to the monarchy which they might es- 
tablish. " I do not wish," he added, " either tc 

92 Darius the Great. [B.C. 520 

Otanes withdraws. Agreement made by the rest 

govern others or to have others govern me. 
You may establish a kingdom, therefore, if you 
choose, and designate the monarch in any mode 
that you see fit to adopt, but he must not con- 
sider me as one of his subjects. I myself, and 
all my family and dependents, must be wholly 
free from his control." 

This was a very unreasonable proposition, 
unless, indeed, Otanes was willing to withdraw 
altogether from the community to which he 
thus refused to be subject ; for, by residing 
within it, he necessarily enjoyed its protection, 
and ought, therefore, to bear his portion of its 
burdens, and to be amenable to its laws. Not- 
withstanding this, however, the conspirators ac- 
ceded to the proposal, and Otanes withdrew. 

The remaining six of the confederates then 
proceeded with their arrangements for the es- 
tablishment of a monarchy. They first agreed 
that one of their own number should be the 
King, and that on whomsoever the choice should 
fall, the other five, while they submitted to his 
iomiTiion, should always enjoy peculiar privi- 
eges and honors at his court. They were at 
all times to have free access to the palaces and 
to the presence of the king, and it was from 
among their daughters alone that the king was 

B.C. 520.] Accession of Darius. 93 

Singular mode of deciding which should be the king. 

to choose his wives. These and some other 
similar points having been arranged, the man- 
ner of deciding which of the six should be the 
king remained to be determined. The plan 
which they adopted, and the circumstances con- 
nected with the execution of it, constitute, cer- 
tainly, one of the most extraordinary of all the 
strange transactions recorded in ancient times 
It is gravely related by Herodotus as sober 
truth. How far it is to be considered as by any 
possibility credible, the reader must judge, aft- 
er knowing what the story is. 

They agreed, then, that on the following 
morning they would all meet on horseback at a 
place agreed upon beyond the walls of the city, 
and that the one whose horse should neigh first 
should be the king ! The time when this ridia 
ulous ceremony was to be performed was sun- 

As soon as this arrangement was made th* 
parties separated, and each went to his own 
home. Darius called his groom, whose name 
was (E bases, and ordered him to have bis horse 
ready at sunrise on the next morning, explain • 
ing to him, at the same time, the plan which 
had been formed for electing the king. " If 
that is the mode which is to be adopted," said 

94 Darius the (jreat. [B.0.520 

The groom CEbasea. His method of making Darius's horse neigh 

CE bases, " you need have no concern, for I can 
arrange it very easily so as to have the lot fai 1 
upon you." Darius expressed a strong desire 
to have this accomplished, if it were possible, 
and OE bases went away. 

The method which (E bases adopted was to 
lead Darius's horse out to the ground that even- 
ing, in company with another, the favorite com- 
panion, it seems, of the animal. Now the at- 
tachment of the horse to his companion is very 
strong, and his recollection of localities very 
vivid, and CE bases expected that when the 
horse should approach the ground on the follow- 
ing morning, he would be reminded of the com- 
pany which he enjoyed there the night before, 
and neigh. The result was as he anticipated. 
As the horsemen rode up to the appointed place, 
the horse of Darius neighed the first, and Da- 
rius was unanimously acknowledged king. 

In respect to the credibility of this famous 
story, the first thought which arises in the mind 
is, that it is utterly impossible that sane men, 
acting in so momentous a crisis, and where in- 
terests so vast and extended were at stake, 
could have resorted to a plan so childish and ri- 
diculous as this Such a mode of designating a 
leader, seriously adopted, would have done dis- 

B.C. 520.] Accession of Darius. 95 

Probable truth or falsehood of this account. 

credit to a troop of boys making arrangements 
for a holiday ; and yet here was an empire ex- 
tending for thousands of miles through the 
heart of a vast continent, comprising, probably, 
fifty nations and many millions of people, with 
capitals, palaces, armies, fleets, and all the oth- 
er appointments and machinery of an immense 
dominion, to be appropriated and disposed of ab- 
solutely, and, so far as they could see, forever. 
It seems incredible that men possessing such in- 
telligence, and information, and extent of view 
as we should suppose that officers of their rank 
and station would necessarily acquire, could 
have attempted to decide such a momentous 
question in so ridiculous and trivial a manner. 
And yet the account is seriously recorded by 
Herodotus as sober history, and the story has 
been related again and again, from that day to 
this, by every successive generation of histo- 
rians, without any particular question of its 

And it may possibly be that it is true. It is 
a case in which the apparent improbability is 
far greater than the real. In the first p.ace, it 
would seem that, in all ages of the world, the acts 
and decisions of men occupying positions of the 
most absolute and exalted power have been con« 

96 Darius the Great. [B.C.520 

Ancient statesmen. Their character and position 

trolled, to a much greater degree, by caprice and 
by momentary impulse, than mankind have gen- 
erally supposed. Looking up as we do to these 
vast elevations from below, they seem invested 
with a certain sublimity and grandeur which 
we imagine must continually impress the minds 
of those who occupy them, and expand and 
strengthen their powers, and lead them to act, 
in all respects, with the circumspeotion, the de- 
liberation, and the far-reaching sagacity which 
the emergencies continually arising seem to 
require. And this is, in fact, in some degree 
the case with the statesmen and political lead- 
ers raised to power under the constitutional gov- 
ernments of modern times. Such statesmen 
are clothed with their high authority, in one 
way or another, by the combined and deliberate 
action of vast masses of men, and every step 
which they take is watched, in reference to its 
influence on the condition and welfare of these 
masses, by many millions; so that such men 
live and act under a continual sense (£ respon- 
sibility, and they appreciate, in some degree, 
the momentous importance of their doings. 
But the absolute and independent sovereigns of 
the Old World, who held their power by con- 
quest or by inheritance, though raised some 

B.C. 520.] Accession of Darius. 97 

The conspirators governed, in their decision, by superstitions (feelings 

times to very vast and giddy elevations, seem 
to have been unconscious, in many instances, 
of the dignity and grandeur of their standing, 
and to have considered their acts only as they 
affected their own personal and temporary in- 
terests. Thus, though placed on a great eleva- 
tion, they took only very narrow and circum- 
scribed views; they saw nothing but the ob- 
jects immediately around them ; and they often 
acted, accordingly, in the most frivolous and 
capricious manner. 

It was so, undoubtedly, with these six con- 
spirators. In deciding which of their number 
should be king, they thought nothing of the in- 
terests of the vast realms, and of the countless 
millions of people whose government was to be 
provided for. The question, as they considered 
it, was doubtless merely which of them should 
have possession of the royal palaces, and be the 
center and the object of royal pomp and parade 
in the festivities and celebrations of the capital. 

And in the mode of decision which they adopt* 
«d, it may be that some degree of superstitious 
feeling mingled. The action and the voices of 
animals were considered, in those days, as su- 
pernatural omens, indicating the will of heaven 
These oonspirators may have expected, accord 

98 Darius the Great. [B.C.520 

The conspirators do homage to Darius. The equestrian statue. 

ingly, in the neighing of the horse, a sort of di- 
vine intimation in respect to the disposition of 
the crown. This idea is confirmed by the state- 
ment which the account of this transaction con- 
tains, that immediately after the neighing of 
Darius's horse, it thundered, although there 
were no clouds in the sky from which the thun- 
der could be supposed naturally to come. The 
conspirators, at all events, considered it solemnly 
decided that Darius was to be king. They all 
dismounted from their horses and knelt around 
him, in acknowledgment of their allegiance and 

It seems that Darius, after he became es- 
tablished on his throne, considered the contri- 
vance by which, through the assistance of his 
groom, he had obtained the prize, not as an act 
of fraud which it was incumbent on him to 
conceal, but as one of brilliant sagacity which 
he was to avow and glory in. He caused a 
magnificent equestrian statue to be sculptured, 
representing himself mounted on his neighing 
horse. This statue he set up in a publio place 
vnth this inscription : 

Darius, son of Hystaspes, obtained the sot . 
ereignty of persia by the sagacity of his hor88 
and the ingenious contrivance of (e bases hlf 


B.C.520.] The Provinces. 99 

IfiUphernM He is denied admittance to Darin « 

Chapter V. 
The Provinces. 

SEVERAL of the events and incidents which 
occurred immediately after the accession 
of Darius to the throne, illustrate in a striking 
manner the degree in which the princes and po- 
tentates of ancient days were governed hy ca- 
price and passionate impulse even in their pub- 
ic acts. One of the most remarkable of these 
was the case of Intaphernes. 

Intaphernes was one of the seven conspira- 
tors who combined to depose the magian and 
place Darius on the throne. By the agree- 
ment which they made with each other before 
it was decided which should be the king, each 
of them was to have free access to the king's 
presence at all times. One evening, soon aftei 
Darius became established on his throne, Inta- 
phernes went to the palace, and was proceed- 
ing to enter the apartment of the king without 
ceremony, when he was stopped by two officers, 
who told him that the king had retired. Inta- 
phernes was incensed at the officers' insolence, 

100 Darius the Great. [B.C. 520 

Intaphernes's cruelty to the two guards. Darius'* appreaensioM 

as he called it. He drew his sword, and cut ul! 
their noses and their ears. Then he took the 
bridle off from his horse at the palace gate, and 
tied the officers together ; and then, leaving 
them in this helpless and miserable condition, 
he went away. 

The officers immediately repaired to the king, 
and presented themselves to him, a frightful 
spectacle, wounded and bleeding, and complain- 
ing bitterly of Intaphernes as the author of the 
injuries which they had received. The king 
was at first alarmed for his own safety. He 
feared that the conspirators had all combined 
together to rebel against his authority, and that 
this daring insult offered to his personal attend- 
ants, in his very palace, was the first outbreak 
of it. He accordingly sent for the conspirators 
one by one, to ask of them whether they ap- 
proved of what Intaphernes had done. They 
promptly disavowed all connection with Inta- 
phernes in the act, and all approval of it, and 
declared their determination to adhere to the 
deoision that they had made, by which Darius 
had been placed on the throne. 

Darius then, after taking proper precautions 
to guard against any possible attempts at re- 
sistance, sent soldiers to seize Intaphernes, and 


B.C.520.] The Provinces. 101 

Intaphernes and family arrested. They are condemned to die 

also his son, and all of his family, relatives, and 
Mends who were capable of bearing arms ; for 
he gnspeoted that Intaphernes hac meditated a 
rebellion, and he thought that, if so, these men 
would most probably be his accomplices. The 
prisoners were brought before him. There was, 
indeed, no proof that they were engaged j a any 
plan of rebellion, nor even that any plan of re- 
bellion whatever had been formed ; but this cir- 
cumstance afforded them no protection. The 
liberties and the lives of all subjects were at the 
supreme and absolute disposal of these ancient 
kings. Darius thought it possible that the pris- 
oners had entertained, or might entertain, some 
treasonable designs, and he conceived that he 
should, accordingly, feel safer if they were re- 
moved out of the way. He decreed, therefore, 
that they must all die. 

While the preparations were making for the 
execution, the wife of Intaphernes came con- 
tinually to the palace of Darius, begging for an 
audience, that she might intercede for the lives 
of her friends. Darius was informed of this, 
and at last, pretending to be moved with com- 
passion for her distress, he sent her word that 
he would pardon one of the criminals for her 
sake, and that she might decide which one it 

1U2 Darius the Great. [B.C.52G 

Alteraatire offered to Intaphernes'i wife. Her rtranga decision 

should be. His real motive in making this pro- 
posal seems to have been to enjoy the perplex- 
ity and anguish which the heart of a woman 
must suffer in being compelled thus to decide, 
in a question of life and death, between a hus- 
band and a son. 

The wife of Intaphernes did not decide in fa- 
vor of either of these. She gave the preference, 
on the other hand, to a brother. Darius was 
very much surprised at this result, and sent a 
messenger to her to inquire how it happened 
that she could pass over and abandon to their 
fate her husband and her son, in order to save 
the life of her brother, who was certainly to be 
presumed less near and dear to her. To which 
she gave this extraordinary reply, that the loss 
of her husband and her son might perhaps be 
repaired, sinoe it was not impossible that she 
might be married again, and that she might 
have another son ; but that, inasmuch as both 
her father and mother were dead, she could 
never have another brother. The death of hei 
present brother would, therefore, be an irrepar- 
able loss. 

The king was so much pleased with the nov 
elty and unexpectedness of this turn of thought 
that he gave her the life of her son in addition 

B.C. 520.] The Provinces. 103 

D«Mh of Intapbemes. The p-ovlnce* 

to that of her brother. All the rest of the fam 
ily cirole of relatives and friends, together with 
Intaphernes himself, he ordered to be slain. 

Darius had occasion to be so much displeased, 
boo, shortly after his accession to the throne, 
with the governor of one of his provinces, that 
he was induced to order him to be put to death. 
The circumstances connected with this gov- 
ernor's crime, and the manner of his execution, 
illustrate very forcibly the kind of government 
which was administered by these military des- 
pots in anoient times. It must be premised 
that great empires, like that over which Darius 
had been called to rule, were generally divided 
into provinces. The inhabitants of these prov- 
inces, each community within its own borders, 
went on, from year to year, in their various 
pursuits of peaceful industry, governed mainly, 
in their relations to each other, by the natural 
sense of justice instinctive in man, and by those 
thousand local institutions and usages which 
are always springing up in all human commu- 
nities under the influence of this principle. 
There were governors stationed over these prov- 
inces, whose main duty it was to collect and 
remit to the king the tribute which the prov- 
ince was required to furnish him. These gov- 

104 Dar;us the Great. [B.C. 520 

The gorei-nora. Their independent 

ernors were, of course, also to suppress any do 
mestio outbreak of violence, and to repel an) 
foreign invasion which might occur. A suffi 
oient military force was placed at their disposal 
to enable them to fulfill these functions. They 
paid these troops, of course, from sums which 
they collected in their provinces under the same 
system by which they collected the tribute. 
This made them, in a great measure, independ- 
ent of the king in the maintenance of their 
armies. They thus intrenched themselves in 
their various capitals at the head of these troops, 
and reigned over their respective dominions al- 
most as if they were kings themselves. They 
had, in fact, very little connection with the su- 
preme monarch, except to send him the annual 
tribute which they had collected from their 
people, and to furnish, also, their quota of troops 
in case of a national war. In the time of our 
Savior, Pilate was such a governor, intrusted 
by the Romans with the charge of Judea, and 
Matthew, was one of the tax gatherers employ <&d 
to collect the tribute. 

Of course, the governors of such provinces, 
as we have already said, were, in a great meas- 
ure, independent of the king. He had, ordina- 
rily, no officers of justice whose jurisdiction 

B.C.520.] The Provinces 105 

Power of the governors. Oretes, governor of Sardii 

could contujl, peacefully, such powerful vassals. 
The only remedy in most cases, when they 
were disobedient and rebellious, was to raise an 
arm) and go forth to make war upon them, as 
in the case of any foreign state. This was at- 
tended with great expense, and trouble, and 
hazard. The governors, when ambitious and 
aspiring, sometimes managed their' resources 
with so much energy and military skill as to 
get the victory over their sovereign in the con- 
tests in which they engaged with them, and 
then they would gain vast accessions to the 
privileges and powers which they exercised in 
their own departments ; and they would some- 
times overthrow their discomfited sovereign en- 
tirely, and take possession of his throne them- 
gelves in his stead. 

Oretes was the name of one of these govern- 
ors in the time of Darius. He had been placed 
by Cyrus, some years before, in charge of on© 
of the provinces into which the kingdom of Lyd- 
ia had been divided. The seat of government 
was Sardis.* He was a capricious and cruel 
tyrant, as, in fact, almost all such governors 

* For the position of Sardis, and of other places mentioned 
in this chapter, see the map at the commencement of the vol 
ume, and also that at the commencement of chapter xL 

106 Darius the (xheat. [B.C.520 

Conversation between Oretes and Mitrobates. Polycrates 

were. We will relate an account of one of the 
deeds which he performed some time before 
Darius ascended the throne, and whioh suffi- 
ciently illustrates his character. 

He was one day sitting at the gates of his 
palace in Sardis, in conversation with the gov- 
ernor of a neighboring territory who had come 
to visit him. The name of this guest was Mit- 
robates. As the two Mends were boasting to 
one another, as such warriors are accustomed 
to do, of the deeds of valor and prowess which 
they had respectively performed. Mitrobates 
said that Oretes could not make any great 
pretensions to enterprise and bravery so long 
as he allowed the Greek island of Samos, which 
was situate at a short distance from the Lyd- 
ian coast, to remain independent, when it would 
be so easy to annex it to the Persian em- 
pire. " You are afraid of Polycrates, I sup- 
pose," said he. Polycrates was the king of 

Oretes was stung by this taunt, but, instead 
of revenging himself on Mitrobates, the author 
of it, he resolved on destroying Polycrates, 
though he had no reason other than this for 
any feeling of enmity toward him. 

Polycrates, although the seat of his dominioc 

B.C.520.J The Provinces. 107 

Doinmiou of Polycrates. Letter of Amasia. 

was a small island in the JEgean Sea, was a 

very wealthy, and powerful, and prosperous 

prince. All his plans and enterprises had been 

remarkably successful. He had. built and 

equipped a powerful fleet, and had conquered 

many islands in the neighborhood of his own. 

v He was projecting still wider schemes of con- 

). quests, and hoped, in fact, to make himself the 

s master of all the seas. 

A very curious incident is related of Polyc- 
rates, which illustrates very strikingly the child- 
ish superstition which governed the minds of 
s men in those ancient days. It seems that in 
^ the midst of his prosperity, his friend and ally, 
Qthe King of Egypt— for these events, though 
\ narrated here, occurred before the invasion of 
s Egypt by Cambyses — sent to him a letter, of 
j which the following is the purport. 

" Amasis, king' of Egypt, to Polycrates. 

"It always gives me great satisfaction and 
pleasure to hear of the prosperity of a friend 
and ally, unless it is too absolutely continuous 
aad uninterrupted. Something like an alterna 
tion of good and ill fortune is best for man ; I 
have never known an instance of a very long- 
continued course of unmingled and uninter- 

108 Darius the Great. [B.C.520 

Suggestion of A mmri». Adopted by Polycratea 

rupted success that did not end, at last, in 
overwhelming and terrible calamity. I am 
anxious, therefore, for you, and my anxiety will 
greatly increase if this extraordinary and un- 
broken prosperity should continue much longer 
I counsel you, therefore, to break the current 
yourself, if fortune will not break it Bring 
upon yourself some calamity, or loss, or suffer- 
ing, as a means of averting the heavier evils 
which will otherwise inevitably befall you. It 
is a general and substantial welfare only that 
can be permanent and final." 

Polycrates seemed to think there was good 
sense in this suggestion. He began to look 
around him to see in what way he could bring 
upon himself some moderate calamity or loss, 
and at length decided on the destruction of a 
very valuable signet ring which he kept among 
his treasures. The ring was made with very 
costly jewels set in gold, and was much cele- 
brated both for its exquisite workmanship and 
also for its intrinsic value. The loss of thii 
ring would be, he thought, a sufficient calam- 
ity to break the evil charm of an excessive and 
unvaried current of good fortune. Polycrates, 
therefore, ordered one of the largest vessels in 

tf.C.520.] The Provinces. 109 

Poly craies throws away Ms ring. Its singular recorsry 

his navy, a fifty-oared galley, to be equipped 
and manned, and, embarking in it with a large 
company of attendants, he put to sea. When 
he was at some distance from the island, he 
took the ring, and in the presence of all his at- 
tendants, he threw it forth into the water, and 
saw it sink, to rise, as he supposed, no more. 

But Fortune, it seems, was not to be thus 
outgeneraled. A few days after Polycrates 
had returned, a certain fisherman on the coast 
took, in his nets, a fish of very extraordinary 
size and beauty ; so extraordinary, in fact, that 
he felt it incumbent on him to make a present 
of it to the king. The servants of Polycrates, 
on opening the fish for the purpose of preparing 
it for the table, to their great astonishment and 
gratification, found the ring within. The king 
was overjoyed at thus recovering his lost treas- 
ure ; he had, in fact, repented of his rashness 
in throwing it away, and had been bitterly la- 
menting its loss. His satisfaction and pleasure 
were, therefore, very great in regaining it ; and 
he immediately sent to Amasis an account of 
the whole transaction, expecting that Amasia 
would share in his joy. 

Amasis, however, sent word back to him in 
"reply, that he considered the return of the ring 

110 Darius the (treat. [B.C.520 

Prediction* of Amaaia. Their fulfillment 

in that almost miraculous manner as an ex- 
tremely unfavorable omen. " I fear," said he, 
" that it is decreed by the Fates that you must 
be overwhelmed, at last, by some dreadful ca- 
lamity, and that no measures of precaution 
which you can adopt will avail to avert it. It 
seems to me, too," he added, " that it is incum- 
bent on me to withdraw from all alliance and 
connection with you, lest I should also, at last, 
be involved in your destined destruction. ,, 

Whether this extraordinary story was true, 
or whether it was all fabricated after the faD 
of Polycrates, as a dramatic embellishment of 
his history, we can not now know. The result, 
however, corresponded with these predictions of 
Amasis, if they were really made ; for it was 
soon after these events that the conversation 
took place at Sardis between Oretes und Mitro- 
bates, at the gates of the palace, which led Ore- 
tes to determine on effecting Polycrates's de- 

In executing the plans which he thus formed, 
Oretes had not the courage and energy neces- 
sary for an open attack on Polycrates, and he 
consequently resolved on attempting to accom- 
plish his end by treachery and stratagem. 

The plan which he devised was this : He sent 

B.C.520.J The Provinces. Ill 

Letter of Oretes. His hypocrisy 

a messenger to Polyorates with a letter of the 
following purport ■ 

u Oretes, governor of Sardis, to Polycrates of 


" I am aware, sire, of the plans which you 
have long been entertaining for extending your 
power among the islands and over the waters 
of the Mediterranean, until you shall have ac- 
quired the supreme and absolute dominion oi 
the seas. I should like to join you in this en- 
terprise. You have ships and men, and I have 
money. Let us enter into an alliance with 
each other. I have accumulated in my treas- 
uries a large supply of gold and silver, which I 
will furnish for the expenses of the undertak- 
ing. If you have any doubt of my sincerity in 
making these offers, and of my ability to fulfil] 
them, send some messenger in whom you have 
confidence, and I will lay the evidence before 

Polycrates was much pleased at the prospect 
of a large accession to his funds, and he sent 
the messenger, as Oretes had proposed. Oretes 
prepared to receive him by filling a large num- 
ber of boxes nearly full with heavy stones, and 

112 Darius the Great. [B.C.520 

The pretended treasure. Fears of Polyerates's daughtar 

then placing a shallow layer of gold or silvei 
coin at the top. These boxes were then suit- 
ably covered and seoured, with the fastenings 
usually adopted in those days, and placed away 
in the royal treasuries. When the messenger 
arrived, the boxes were brought out and open- 
ed, and were seen by the messenger to be full, 
as he supposed, of gold and silver treasure. The 
messenger went back to Polycrates, and report- 
ed that all which Oretes had said was true; 
and Polycrates then determined to go to the 
main land himself to pay Oretes t. visit, that 
they might mature together their plans for the 
intended campaigns. He ordered a fifty-oared 
galley to be prepared to convey him. 

His daughter felt a presentiment, it seems, 
that some calamity was impending. She earn- 
estly entreated her father not to go. She had 
had a dream, she said, about him, which had 
frightened her excessively, and which she was 
convinced portended some terrible danger. Po- 
lycrates paid no attention to his daughter's warn- 
ings. She urged them more and more earnest- 
ly, until, at last, she made her father angry, and 
then she desisted. Polycrates then embarked 
on board his splendid galley, and sailed away. 
As soon as he landed in the dominions of Ore- 

B,C.520.] The Provinces. 118 

Oretes murders Polycrates. He commits other murders 

tes, the monster seized him and put him to 
death, and then ordered his body to be nailed to 
a cross, for exhibition to all passers by, as a 
public spectacle. The train of attendants and 
servants that accompanied Polycrates on this 
expedition were all made slaves, except a few 
persons of distinction, who were sent home in a 
shameful and disgraceful mannei Among the 
attendants who were detained in captivity by 
Oretes was a celebrated family physician, nam- 
ed Democedes, whose remarkable and romantic 
adventures will be the subject of the next 

Oretes committed several other murders and 
assassinations in this treacherous manner, with- 
out any just ground for provocation. In these 
deeds of violence and cruelty, he seems to have 
acted purely under the influence of that wan 
ton and capricious malignity which the posses- 
sion of absolute and irresponsible power so often 
engenders in the minds of bad men. It is 
doubtful, however, whether these cruelties and 
orimes would have particularly attracted the 
attention of Darius, so long as he was not him- 
self directly affected by them. The central gov- 
ernment, in these ancient empires, generally in- 
terested itself v erv little in the contentions and 

114 Darius the Great. [B.C.520 

Oretes destroys Darius's messenger. Darius is incensed 

quarrels of the governors of the provinces, pro 
vided that the tribute was efficiently colleoted 
xud regularly paid. 

A case, however, soon occurred, in Oretes'e 
treacherous and bloody career, which arrestee 
the attention of Darius and aroused his ire 
Darius had sent a messenger to Oretes, with 
certain orders, which, it seems, Oretes did nol 
like to obey. After delivering his dispatches 
the bearer set out on his return, and was nevei 
afterward heard of. Darius ascertained, to his 
own satisfaction at least, that Oretes had caus- 
ed his messenger to be waylaid and killed, and 
that the bodies both of horse and rider had been 
buried, secretly, in the solitudes of the mount- 
ains, in order to conceal the evidences of the 

Darius determined on punishing this crime. 
Some consideration was, however, required, in 
order to determine in what way his object could 
best be effected. The province of Oretes was 
at a great distance from Susa, and Oretes was 
strongly established there, at the head of a great 
force. His guards were bound, it is true, to 
obey the orders of Darius, but it was question- 
able whether they would do so. To raise aD 
army and march against the rebellious govern- 

B.C.520.] The Provinces. 115 

Plan of Darius for punishing Oretes. His proposal 

or would be an expensive and hazardous under- 
taking, and perhaps, too, it would prove that 
such a measure was not necessary. All things 
considered, Darius determined to try the exper- 
iment of acting, by his own direct orders, upon 
the troops and guards in Oretes's capital, with 
the intention of resorting subsequently to an 
armed force of his own, if that should be at last 

He accordingly called together a number of 
his officers and nobles, selecting those on whose 
resolution and fidelity he could most confidently 
rely, and made the following address to them : 

" I have an enterprise which I wish to com- 
mit to the charge of some one of your number 
who is willing to undertake it, which requires 
no military force, and no violent measures of 
any kind, but only wisdom, sagacity, and cour- 
age. I wish to have Oretes, the governor of 
Sardis, brought to me, dead or alive. He has 
perpetrated innumerable crimes, and now, in 
addition to all his other deeds of treacherous vi- 
olence, he has had the intolerable insolence to 
put to death one of my messengers. Which of 
you will volunteer to bring him, dead or alive, 
to me ?" 

This proposal awakened a great enthusiasm 

116 Darius the Great. [B.C.520 

Commission of Bagaeus. His plan 

among the nobles to whom it was addressed. 
Nearly thirty of them volunteered their service* 
to execute the order. Darius concluded to de- 
cide between these competitors by lot The lot 
fell upon a certain man named Bagaeus, and he 
immediately began to form his plans and make 
his arrangements for the expedition. 

He caused a number of different orders to bo 
prepared, beginning with directions of little mo- 
ment, and proceeding to commands of more and 
more weighty importance, all addressed to the 
officers of Oretes's army and to his guards. 
These orders were all drawn up in writing with 
great formality, and were signed by the name 
of Darius, and sealed with his seal ; they, more* 
over, named Bagaeus as the officer selected by 
the king to superintend the execution of them. 
Provided with these documents, Bagaeus pro- 
ceeded to Sardis, and presented himself at the 
court of Oretes. He presented his own person- 
al credentials, and with them some of his most 
insignificant orders. Neither Oretes nor hia 
guards felt any disposition to disobey them. 
Bagaeus, being thus received and recognized as 
the envoy of the king, continued to present new 
decrees and edicts, from time to time, as occa- 
sions occurred in which he thought the guards 

B.C.520.] The Provinces. 117 

Oretes beheaded- Divisions of Darius's empire. 

would be ready to obey them, until he found 
the habit, on their part, of looking to him as 
the representative of the supreme power suffi- 
ciently established ; for their disposition to obey 
him was not merely tested, it was strengthened 
by every new act of obedience. When he found, 
at length, that his hold upon the guards was 
sufficiently strong, he produced his two final 
decrees, one ordering the guards to depose Ore- 
tes from his power, and the other to behead him. 
Both the commands were obeyed. 

The events and incidents which have been 
described in this chapter were of no great im- 
portance in themselves, but they illustrate, more 
forcibly than any general description would da 
the nature and the operation of the government 
exercised by Darius throughout the vast em- 
pire over which he found himself presiding. 

Such personal and individual contests and 
transactions were not all that occupied his at> 
tention. Ho devoted a great deal of thought and 
of time to the work of arranging, in a distinct 
and systematic manner, the division of his do- 
minions into provinces, and to regelating pre- 
cisely the amount of tribute to be required of 
eaoh, and the modes of collecting it. He di- 
tided his empire into twenty great districts, 

118 Darius the Great. [B.C. 520 

Tribute of the satrapies The white horse* 

each of which was governed by a ruler called s 
satrap. He fixed the amount of tribute which 
each of these districts was to pay, making it 
greater or less as the soil and the productions 
of the country varied in fertility and abundance. 
In some cases this tribute was to be paid i» 
gold, in others in silver, and in others in pecu- 
liar commodities, natural to the country of 
which they were required. For example, one 
satrapy, which comprised a country famous for 
its horses, was obliged to furnish one white 
horse for every day in the year. This made 
three hundred and sixty annually, that being 
the number of days in the Persian year. Such 
a supply, furnished yearly, enabled the king 
soon to have a very large troop of white horses ; 
and as the horses were beautifully caparisoned, 
and the riders magnificently armed, the body 
of cavalry thus formed was one of the most 
splendid in the world. 

The satrapies were numbered from the west 
toward the east. The western portion of Asia 
Minor constituted the first, and the East Indian 
nations the twelfth and last. The East In- 
dians had to pay Their tribute in ingots of gold. 
Their country produced gold. 

As it is now forever too late to separate the 

B.C.520.] The Provinces. 119 

The gold of India. Mode of gathering it. 

facts from the fiction of ancient history, and de- 
termine what is to be rejected as false and what 
received as true, our only resource is to tell the 
whole story just as it comes down to us, leav- 
ing it to each reader to decide for himself what 
he will believe. In this view of the subject, we 
will oonclude this chapter by relating the man- 
ner in which it was said in ancient times that 
these Indian nations obtained their gold. 

The gold country was situated in remote and 
dreary deserts, inhabited only by wild beasts 
and vermin, among which last there was, it 
seems, a species of ants, which were of enor- 
mous size, and wonderful fierceness and voraci- 
ty, and which could run faster than the fleetest 
horse or camel. These ants, in making their 
excavations, would bring up from beneath the 
surface of the ground all the particles of gold 
which came in their way, and throw them out 
around their hills. The Indians then would pen- 
etrate into these deserts, mounted on the fleetest 
camels that they could procure, and leading oth- 
er camels, not so fleet, by their sides. They 
were provided, also, with bags for containing 
the golden sands. When they arrived at the 
ant hills, they would dismount, and, gathering 
up the gold which the ants had discarded, would 

120 Darius the (x re at. [B.C. 520. 

The wonderful ants. Their prodigious size. 

fill their bags with the utmost possible dispatch, 
and then mount their camels and ride away. 
The ants, in the mean time, would take the 
alarm, and begin to assemble to attack them ; 
but as their instinct prompted them to wait 
until considerable numbers were collected be- 
fore they commenced their attack, the Indians 
had time to fill their bags and begin their flight 
before their enemies were ready. Then com- 
menced the chase, the camels running at their 
full speed, and the swarms of ants following, 
and gradually drawing nearer and nearer. At 
length, when nearly overtaken, the Indians 
would abandon the camels that they were lead- 
ing, and fly on, more swiftly, upon those which 
they rode. While the ants were busy in devour- 
ing the victims thus given up to them, the au- 
thors of all the mischief would make good their 
escape, and thus carry off their gold to a place 
of safety. These famous ants were bigger than 


3.C. 519.] Greece Re connoitered 123 

Tfe* reconnoitering party. The physician Democedea 

c hapter vi 
The Reconnoitering op Greece. 

THE great event in the history of Darius— 
the one, in fact, on account of which it was, 
mainly, that his name and his career have been 
so widely celebrated among mankind, was an 
attempt which he made, on a very magnificent 
scale, for the invasion and conquest of Greece. 
Before commencing active operations in this 
grand undertaking, he sent a reconnoitering 
party to examine and explore the ground. This 
reconnoitering party met with a variety of ex- 
traordinary adventures in the course of its prog- 
ress, and the history of it will accordingly form 
the subject of this chapter. 

The guide to this celebrated reconnoitering 
party was a certain Greek physician named 
Democedes. Though Democedes was called a 
Greek, he was, really, an Italian by birth. His 
native town was Crotona, which may be found 
exactly at the ball of the foot on the map of 
Italy. It was by a very singular series of ad- 
ventures tha> he passed from this remote vil- 

124 Darius the Great. [B.C. 519 

Story of Demoeedes. His boyhood 

lage in the west, over thousands of miles by 
land and sea, to Susa, Darius's capital. He 
began by running away from his father while 
he was still a boy. He said that he was driven 
to this step by the intolerable strictness and 
cruelty of his father's government This, how- 
ever, is always the pretext of turbulent and 
ungovernable young men, who abandon their 
parents and their homes when the favors and the 
protection necessary during their long and help- 
less infancy have been all received, and the 
time is beginning to arrive for making some 

Democedes was ingenious and cunning, and 
fond of roving adventure. In running away 
from home, he embarked on board a ship, as 
such characters generally do at the present day, 
and went to sea. After meeting with various 
adventures, he established himself in the island 
of Egina, in the jEgean sea, where he began 
to practice as a physician, though he had had 
no regular education in that art. In his prac- 
tice he evinced so much medical skill, or, at 
least, exercised so much adroitness in leading 
people to believe that he possessed it, as to give 
him very soon a wide and exalted reputation 
The people of Egina appointed him their phy 

B.C. 519.] Greece Reconnoitered. 125 

Democedes at Egina. At Athens. At the court of Polycraies 

gioian, and assigned him a large salary for his 
services in attending upon the sick throughout 
the island. This was the usual practice in 
those days. A town, or an island, or any cir- 
cumscribed district of country, would appoint 
a physician as a public officer, who was to de 
vote his attention, at a fixed annual salary, to 
any cases of sickness which might arise in the 
community, wherever his services were needed, 
precisely as physicians serve in hospitals and 
public institutions in modern times. 

Democedes remained at iEgina two years, 
during which time his celebrity increased and 
extended more and more, until, at length, he 
received an appointment from the city of Ath- 
ens, with the offer of a greatly increased salary. 
He accepted the appointment, and remained in 
Athens one year, when he received still more 
advantageous offers from Poly crates, the king 
of Samos, whose history was given so fully in 
the last chapter. 

Democedes remained for some time in the 
oourt of Polycrates, where he was raised to the 
highest distinction, and loaded with many hon- 
ors. He was a member of the household of the 
king, enjoyed his confidence in a high degree, 
and attended him, personally, on all his expe« 

126 Darius the Great. [B.C. 519. 

Democedes a captive. He is sent, to Darius. 

ditions. At last, when Polycrates went to Sar- 
dis, as is related in the last chapter, to receive 
the treasures of Oretes, and concert with him 
the plans for their proposed campaigns, Demo- 
cedes accompanied him as usual ; and when 
Polycrates was slain, and his attendants and 
followers were made captive by Oretes, the un- 
fortunate physician was among the number. 
By this reverse, he found that he had suddenly 
fallen from affluence, ease, and honor, to the 
condition of a neglected and wretched captive 
in the hands of a malignant and merciless ty- 

Democedes pined in this confinement for a 
long time ; when, at length, Oretes himself was 
killed by the order of Darius, it might have 
been expected that the hour of his deliverance 
had arrived. But it was not so ; his condition 
was, in fact, made worse, and not better by it ; 
for Bagreus, the commissioner of Darius, instead 
of inquiring into the circumstances relating to 
the various members of Oretes's family, and 
redressing the wrongs which any of them might 
be suffering, simply seized the whole company, 
and brought them all to Darius in Susa, as 
trophies of his triumph, and tokens of the faith- 
fulness and efficiency with which he had exe- 

B.C. 519.] Greece Reconnoitered. 127 

Democedes is cast into prison. His wretched condition. 

cuted the work that Darius had committed to 
his charge. Thus Democedes was borne away, 
in hopeless bondage, thousands of miles farther 
from his native land than before, and with 
very little prospect of being ever able to re- 
turn. He arrived at Susa, destitute, squalid, 
and miserable. His language was foreign, his 
rank and his professional skill unknown, and 
all the marks which might indicate the refine- 
ment and delicacy of the modes of life to which 
he had been accustomed were wholly disguised 
by his present destitution and wretchedness. 
He was sent with the other captives to the 
prisons, where he was secured, like them, with 
fetters and chains, and was soon almost entirely 

He might have taken some measures for 
making his character, and his past celebrity 
and fame as a physician known ; but he did 
not dare to do this, for fear that Darius might 
learn to value his medical skill, and so detain 
him as a slave for the sake of his services. He 
thought that the chance was greater that some 
turn of fortune, or some accidental change in 
the arrangements of government might take 
place, by which he might be set at liberty, as 
an insignificant and worthless captive, whom 

128 Darius the Great. [B.C. 519. 

Darius sprains his anKie. The Egyptian physicians baffled. 

there was no particular motive for detaining, 
than if he were transferred to the king's house- 
hold as a slave, and his value as an artisan — 
for medical practice was, in those days, simply 
an art — were once known. He made no effort, 
therefore, to bring his true character to light, 
hut pined silently in his dungeon, in rags and 
wretchedness, and in a mental despondency 
which was gradually sinking into despair. 

About this time, it happened that Darius was 
one day riding furiously in a chase, and coming 
upon some sudden danger, he attempted to leap 
from his horse. He fell and sprained his ankle. 
He was taken up by the attendants, and carried 
home. His physicians were immediately called 
to attend to the case They were Egyptians. 
Egypt was, in fact, considered the great seat 
and centre of learning and of the arts in those 
days, and no royal household was complete 
without Egyptian physicians. 

The learning and skill, however, of the Egyp- 
tians in Darius's court were entirely baffled by 
the sprain. They thought that the joint was 
dislocated, and they turned and twisted the foot 
with so much violence, in their attempts to re- 
store the bones to their proper position, as great- 
ly to increase the pain and the inflammation. 

ii.C.Dl9.] Greece Reconnoitered. 12$ 

Sufferings of Darius. He sends for Demooedes 

Darius spent a week in extreme and excruci- 
ating suffering. He could not sleep day no* 
night, but tossed in continual restlessness ana 
anguish on his couch, made constantly wors« 
instead of better by every effort of his physi- 
cians to relieve him. 

At length somebody informed him that there 
was a Greek physician among the captives that 
came from Sardis, and recommended that Da- 
rius should send for him. The king, in his im- 
patience and pain, was ready for any experi- 
ment which promised the least hope of relief,, 
and he ordered that Democedes should be im- 
mediately summoned. The officers accordingly 
went to the prison and brought out the aston- 
ished captive, without any notice or prepara- 
tion, and conducted him, just as he was, rag- 
ged and wretched, and shackled with iron fet- 
ters upon his feet, into the presence of the king. 
The fetters which such captives wore were in- 
tended to allow them to walk, slowly and with 
difficulty, while they impeded the movements 
of the set so as effectually to prevent any long 
or rapid flight, or any escape at all from free 

Democedes, when questioned by Darius, de- 
nied at first that he possessed any medical 

29— 9 

130 Darius the Great. [B.C.523. 

Democedes's denial. He treats the sprain successfully. 

knowledge or skill. Darius was, however, not 
deceived by these protestations. It was very 
customary, in those days of royal tyranny, for 
those who possessed any thing valuable to con- 
ceal the possession of it : concealment was often 
their only protection. Darius, who was well 
aware of this tendency, did not believe the as- 
surances of Democedes, and in the irritation 
and impatience caused by his pain, he ordered 
the captive to be taken out and put to the tor- 
ture, in order to make him confess that he was 
really a physician. 

Democedes yielded without waiting to be act- 
ually put to the test. He acknowledged at once, 
for fear of the torture, that he had had some 
experience in medical practice, and the sprained 
ankle was immediately committed to his charge. 
On examining the case, he thought that the 
harsh and violent operations which the Egyp- 
tian physicians had attempted were not re- 
quired., He treated the inflamed and swollen 
joint in the gentlest manner. He made fo- 
menting and emollient applications, which sooth- 
ed the pain, subdued the inflammation, and al- 
layed the restlessness and the fever. The royal 
sufferer became quiet and calm, and in a short 
time fell asleep. 

B.C. 519.] Greece Reconnoitered. 131 

Daxins'a recovery. The golden fetters 

In a word, the king rapidly recovered ; and, 
overwhelmed with gratitude toward the bene- 
factor whose skill had saved him from such suf- 
fering, he ordered that, in place of his single 
oair of iron fetters, he should have two pairs of 
fetters of gold ! 

It might at first he imagined that such a 
strange token of regard as this could be intend 
ed only as a jest and an insult ; but there is no 
doubt that Darius meant it seriously as a com- 
pliment and an honor. He supposed that Dem- 
ocedes, of course, considered his condition of 
captivity as a fixed and permanent one; and 
that his fetters were not, in themselves, an in- 
justice or disgrace, but the necessary and una- 
voidable concomitant of his lot, so that the 
sending of golden fetters to a slave was very 
naturally, in his view, like presenting a golden 
crutch to a cripple. Democedes received the 
equivocal donation with great good nature. He 
even ventured upon a joke on the subject to the 
convalescent king. " It seems, sire," said he 
"that in return for my saving your limb and 
your life, you double my servitude. You have 
given me two chains instead of one." 

The king, who was now in a much better 
humor to be pleased than when, writhing in an- 

132 Darius the Great. [B.C. 519. 

Democedes released. Honors conferred on him. 

guish, he had ordered Democedes to be put to 
the torture, laughed at this reply, and released 
the captive from the bonds entirely. He or- 
dered him to be conducted by the attendants to 
the apartments of the palace, where the wives 
of Darius and the other ladies of the court re- 
sided, that they might see him and express their 
gratitude. " This is the physician," said the 
eunuchs, who introduced him, " that cured the 
king." The ladies welcomed him with the ut-. 
most cordiality, and loaded him with presents 
of gold and silver as he passed through their 
apartments. The king made arrangements, 
too, immediately, for providing him with a mag- 
nificent house in Susa, and established him 
there in great luxury and splendor, with costly 
furniture and many attendants, and all other 
marks of distinction and honor. In a word, 
Democedes found himself, by means of another 
unexpected change of fortune, suddenly elevated 
to a height as lofty as his misery and degrada- 
tion had been low. He was, however, a captive 

The Queen Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus, 
who has already been mentioned as the wife of 
Cambyses and of Smerdis the magian, was one 
of the wives of Darius. Her sister Antystone 

B.C. 519.] Greece Reconnoitered. 133 

4tossa cured by Democedes. His conditions. 

was another. A third was Phaedyma, the 
daughter of Otanes, the lady who had been so 
instrumental, in connection with Atossa, in the 
discovery of the magian imposture. It hap- 
pened that, some time after the curing of Da- 
rius's sprain, Atossa herself was sick. Her 
malady was of such a nature, that for some 
time she kept it concealed, from a feeling of del- 
icacy.* At length, terrified by the danger 
which threatened her, she sent for Democedes, 
and made her case known to him. He said 
that he could cure her, but she must first prom- 
ise to grant him, if he did so, a certain favor 
which he should ask. She must promise be- 
forehand to grant it, whatever it might be. It 
was nothing, he said, that should in any way 
compromise her honor. 

Atossa agreed to these conditions, and Demo- 
cedes undertook her case. Her malady was 
soon cured ; and when she asked him what was 
the favor which he wished to demand, he replied, 

" Persuade Darius to form a plan for the in- 
vasion of Greece, and to send me, with a smaD 
company of attendants, to explore the country, 

* It was a tumor of the breast, which became, at length, 
an open ulcer, and began to spread and enlarge in a y«wt 
formidable manner. 

134 DaHius the Great. [B.C. 519 

Atossa with Darius. She suggests the invasion of Greece 

and obtain for him all the necessary preliminary 
information. In this way I shall see my native 
iand once more." 

Atossa was faithful in her promise. She 
availed herself of the first favorable opportunity, 
when it became her turn to visit the king, to 
direct his mind, by a dexterous conversation, to- 
ward the subject of the enlargement of his em- 
pire. He had vast forces and resources, she 
said, at his command, and might easily enter 
upon a career of conquest which would attract 
the admiration of the world. Darius replied 
that he had been entertaining some views of 
that nature. He had thought, he said, of at- 
tacking the Scythians : these Scythians were 
a group of semi-savage nations on the north of 
his dominions. Atossa represented to him that 
subduing the Scythians would be too easy a 
conquest, and that it would be a far nobler en- 
terprise, and more worthy of his talents and 
his vast resources, to undertake an expedition 
into Europe, and attempt the conquest of 
Greece. You have all the means at your com- 
mand essential for the success of such an under- 
taking, and you have in your court a man who 
can give you, or can obtain for you, all the 
necessary information in respect to the country, 

B.C. 519.] G-reece Reconnoitered. 135 

The exploring party. Democedes appointed guide. 

to enable you to form the plan of your cam- 

The ambition of Darius was fired by these 
suggestions. He began immediately to form 
projects and schemes. Tn a day or two he or- 
ganized a small party of Persian officers of dis- 
tinction, in whom he had great confidence, to 
go on an exploring tour into Greece. They 
were provided with a suitable company of at- 
tendants, and with every thing necessary for 
their journey, and Democedes was directed to 
prepare to go with them as their guide. They 
were to travel simply as a party of Persian no- 
blemen, on an excursion of curiosity and pleas- 
ure, concealing their true design ; and as Dem- 
ocedes their guide, though born in Italy, was 
in all important points a Greek, and was well 
acquainted with the countries through which 
they were to pass, they supposed that they could 
travel every where without suspicion. Darius 
charged the Persians to keep a diligent watch 
over Democedes, and not to allow him, on any 
account to leave them, but to bring him back 
to Susa safely with them on their return. 

As for Democedes, he had no intention what- 
ever of returning to Persia, though he kept his 
designs of making his escape entirely concealed. 

136 Darius the Great. [B.C. 519. 

Designs of Democedes. Darius baffled. 

Darius, with seeming generosity, said to him, 
while he was making his preparations, " I rec- 
ommend to you to take with you all your pri- 
vate wealth and treasures, to distribute, for 
presents, among your friends in Greece and 
Italy. I will bestow more upon you here on 
your return." Democedes regarded this coun- 
sel with great suspicion. He imagined that 
the king, in giving him this permission, wished 
to ascertain, by observing whether he would 
re ably take with him all his possessions, the ex- 
istence of any secret determination in his mind 
not to come back to Susa. If this were Da- 
rius's plan, it was defeated by the sagacious 
vigilance and cunning of the physician. He 
told the king, in reply, that' he preferred to leave 
his effects in Persia, that they might be ready 
for his use on his return. The king then or- 
dered a variety of costly articles to be provided 
and given to Democedes, to be taken with him 
and presented to his friends in Greece and Italy. 
They consisted of vessels of gold and silver, 
pieces of Persian armor of beautiful workman- 
ship, and articles of dress, expensive and splen- 
did. These were all carefully packed, and the 
various other necessary preparations were made 
for the long journey. 

B.C. 519.] Greece Reconnoitered. 137 

The expedition sets out. City of Sidon. 

At length the expedition set out. They 
traveled by land westward, across the conti- 
nent, till they reached the eastern shores of the 
Mediterranean Sea. The port at which they 
arrived was Sidon, the city so often mentioned 
in the Scriptures as a great pagan emporium 
of commerce. The city of Sidon was in the 
height of its glory at this time, being one of the 
most important ports of the Mediterranean for 
all the western part of Asia. Caravans of trav- 
elers came to it by land, bringing on the backs 
of camels the productions of Arabia, Persia, and 
all the East ; and fleets of ships by sea, loaded 
with the corn, and wine, and oil of the Western 

At Sidon the land journey of the expedition 
was ended. Here they bought two large and 
splendid ships, galleys of three, banks of oars, 
to convey them to Greece. These galleys were 
for their own personal accommodation. There 
was a third vessel, called a transport, for the 
conveyance of their baggage, which consisted 
mainly of the packages of rich and costly pres- 
ents which Darius had prepared. Some of theso 
presents were for the friends of Democedes, as 
has been already explained, and others had been 
provided as gifts and offerings from the king 

138 Darius the Great. [B.C.519. 

The sea voyage. The Grecian coasts examined. 

himself to such distinguished personages as the 
travelers might visit on their route. When 
the vessels were ready, and the costly cargo 
was on board, the company of travelers em- 
barked, and the little fleet put to sea. 

The Grecian territories are endlessly divided 
and indented by the seas, whose irregular and 
winding shores form promontories, peninsulas, 
and islands without number, which are access- 
ible in every part by water. The Persian ex- 
plorers cruised about among these coasts under 
Democedes's guidance, examining every things 
and noting carefully all the information which 
they could obtain, either by personal observa- 
tion or by inquiring of others, which might be 
of service to Darius in his intended invasion. 
Democedes allowed them to take their own 
time, directing their course, however, steadily, 
though slowly, toward his own native town of 
Crotona. The expedition landed in various 
places, and were every where well received. 
It was not for the interest of Democedes that 
they should yet be intercepted. In fact, the 
name and power of Darius were very much 
feared, or, at least, very highly respected in all 
the Grecian territory, and the people were little 
inclined to molest a peaceful party of Persians 

B.C. 518.] GrREECE Reconnoitered. 139 

Arrival at Tarentum. Suspicions of the authorities. 

traveling like ordinary tourists, and under the 
guidance, too, of a distinguished countryman of 
their own, whose name was, in some degree, a 
guarantee for the honesty and innocence of their 
intentions. At length, however, after spending 
some time in the Grecian seas, the little squad- 
ron moved still farther west, toward the coast 
of Italy, and arrived finally at Tarentum. Ta- 
rentum was the great port on the Grecian side 
of Italy. It was at the head of the spacious bay 
which sets up between the heel and the ball of 
the foot of the boot-shaped peninsula. Crotona, 
Democedes's native town, to which he was now 
desirous to return, was southwest of Tarentum, 
about two hundred miles along the shore.* 

It was a very curious and extraordinary cir- 
cumstance that, though the expedition had been 
thus far allowed to go and come as its leaders 
pleased, without any hinderance or suspicion, 
yet now, the moment that they touched a point 
from which Democedes could easily reach his 
home, the authorities on shore, in some way or 
other, obtained some intimation of the true 
character of their enterprise. The Prince of 
Tarentum seized the ships. He made the Per- 

* For the situation of these places, see the map at the com- 
mencement of chapter xi. 

140 Darius the Great. [B.C. 518. 

The Persians seized. Escape of Democedes. Release of the Persians. 

sians themselves prisoners also, and shut them 
up ; and, in order effectually to confine the ships, 
he took away the helms from them, so that they 
could not be steered, and were thus entirely dis- 
abled. The expedition being thus, for the time 
at least, broken up, Democedes said, coolly, that 
he would take the opportunity to make a little 
excursion along the coast, and visit his friends 
at Crotona ! 

It was another equally suspicious circum- 
stance in respect to the probability that this 
seizure was the result of Democedes's manage- 
ment, that, as soon as he was safely away, the 
Prince of Tarentum set his prisoners at liberty r 
releasing, at the same time, the ships from the 
seizure, and sending the helms on board. The 
Persians were indignant at the treatment which 
they had received, and set sail immediately 
along the coast toward Crotona in pursuit of 
Democedes. They found him in the market- 
place in Crotona, haranguing the people, and 
exciting, by his appearance and his discourse, 
a great and general curiosity. They attempted 
to seize him as a fugitive, and called upon the 
people of Crotona to aid them, threatening them 
with the vengeance of Darius if they refused, 
A part of the people were disposed to comply 

B.C. 518.] G-REECE Re CONNOITE R E D. 141 
Tumult at Crotona. . Conduct of Democedes. 

with this demand, while others rallied to defend 
their townsman. A great tumult ensued ; but, 
in the end, the party of Democedes was victo- 
rious. He was not only thus personally rescued, 
but, as he informed the people that the trans- 
port vessel which accompanied the expedition 
contained property that belonged to him, they 
seized that too, and gave it up to Democedes, 
saying to the Persians that, though they must 
give up the transport, the galleys remained at 
their service to convey them back to their own 
country whenever they wished to go. 

The Persians had now no other alternative 
but to return home. They had, it is true, pretty 
nearly accomplished the object of their under- 
taking ; but, if any thing remained to be done, 
they could not now attempt it with any advant- 
age, as they had lost their guide, and a great 
portion of the effects which had been provided 
by Darius to enable them to propitiate the fa- 
vor of the princes and potentates into whose 
power they might fall. They accordingly be- 
gan to make preparations for sailing back again 
to Sidon, while Democedes established himself 
in great magnificence and splendor in Crotona. 
When, at length, the Persians were ready to 
sail, Democedes wished them a very pleasant 

142 Darius the Great. [B.C. 518. 

The expedition returns. Misfortunes. Cuius. 

voyage, and desired them to give his best re- 
spects to Darius, and inform him that he could 
not return at present to Persia, as he was 
making arrangements to be married ! 

The disasters which had befallen these Per- 
sian reconnoiterers thus far were only the be- 
ginning of their troubles. Their ships were 
driven by contrary winds out of their course, 
and they were thrown at last upon the coast 
of Iapygia, a country occupying the heel of It- 
aly. Here they were seized by the inhabitants 
and made slaves. It happened that there was 
living in this wild country at that time a man 
of wealth and of cultivation, who had been ex- 
iled from Tarentum on account of some political 
offenses. His name was Cillus. He heard the 
story of these unhappy foreigners, and interested 
himself in their fate. He thought that, by rescu- 
ing them from their captivity and sending them 
home, he should make Darius his friend, and 
secure, perhaps, his aid in efTect_ng his own 
restoration to his native land. He accordingly 
paid the ransom which was demanded for the 
captives, and set them free. He then aided 
them in making arrangements for their return 
to Persia, and the unfortunate mes* "~rs found 
their way back at last to the court ^ ^ ~ius, 

B.C. 518.] Greece Reconnoitered. 143 

Arrival at Susa. Reception by Darius. 

without their guide, without any of the splendid 
appointments with which they had gone forth, 
b. t stripped of every thing, and glad to escape 
w'th their lives. 

They had some cause to fear, too, the anger 
of Darius, for the insensate wrath of a tyrant 
is awakened as often by calamity as by crime. 
Darius, however, was in this instance graciously 
disposed. He received the unfortunate com- 
missioners in a favorable manner. He took 
immediate measures for rewarding Cillus for 
having ransomed them. He treasured up, too, 
the information which they had obtained re- 
specting Greece, though he was prevented by 
circumstances, which we will proceed to de- 
scribe, from immediately putting into execution 
his plans of invasion and conquest there. 

144 Darius the (treat. [B.C. 516. 

City of Babylon. The captive Jews* 

Chapter VII. 
The Revolt of Babylon. 

THE city of Babylon, originally the capital 
of the Assyrian empire, was conquered by 
Cyrus, the founder of the Persian monarchy, 
when he annexed the Assyrian empire to his 
dominions. It was a vast and a very magnifi- 
cent and wealthy city ; and Cyrus made it, for 
a time, one of his capitals. 

When Cyrus made this conquest of Babylon, 
he found the Jews in captivity there. They 
had been made captive by Nebuchadnezzar, a 
previous king of Babylon, as is related in the 
Scriptures. The holy prophets of Judea had 
predicted that after seventy years the captives 
should return, and that Babylon itself should 
afterward be destroyed. The first prediction 
was fulfilled by the victory of Cyrus. It de- 
volved on Darius to execute the second of these 
solemn and retributive decrees of heaven. 

Although Darius was thus the instrument 
of divine Providence in the destruction of Bab- 
ylon, he was unintentionally and unconsciously 
so. In the terrible scenes connected with the 

B.C. 516.] The Revolt of Babylon. 145 

Wickedness of the Babylonians. Causes of discontent. 

siege and the storming of the ill-fated city, it 
was the impulse of his own hatred and revenge 
that he was directly obeying ; he was not at all 
aware that he was, at the same time, the mes- 
senger of the divine displeasure. The wretched 
Babylonians, in the storming and destruction of 
their city, were expiating a double criminality. 
Their pride, their wickedness, their wanton cru- 
elty toward the Jews, had brought upon them 
the condemnation of God, while their political 
treason and rebellion, or, at least, what was con- 
sidered treason and rebellion aroused the im- 
placable resentment of their king. 

The Babylonians had been disposed to revolt 
even in the days of Cyrus. They had been ac- 
customed to consider their city as the most 
noble and magnificent capital in the world, 
and they were displeased that Cyrus did not 
make it the seat and center of his empire. Cy- 
rus preferred Susa ; and Babylon, accordingly, 
though he called it one of his capitals, soon fell 
to the rank of a provincial city. The nobles 
and provincial leaders that remained there be- 
gan accordingly to form plans for revolting from 
the Persian dominion, with a view of restoring 
their city to its ancient position and renown. 

They had a very favorable opportunity for 

146 Darius the Great. [B.C. 516. 

Preparations of the Babylonians for revolt. Their secrecy 

maturing their plans, and making their prepa- 
rations for the execution of them during the 
time of the magian usurpation ; for while the 
false Smerdis was on the throne, being shut up 
and concealed in his palace at Susa, the affairs 
of the provinces were neglected ; and when Da- 
rius and his accomplices discovered the impos- 
ture and put Smerdis to death, there was nec- 
essarily required, after so violent a revolution, 
a considerable time before the affairs of the em- 
pire demanding attention at the capital could 
be settled, so as to allow the government to turn 
their thoughts at all toward the distant depend- 
encies. The Babylonians availed themselves 
of all these opportunities to put their city in 
the best condition for resisting the Persian 
power. They strengthened their defenses, and 
accumulated great stores of provisions, and took 
measures for diminishing that part of the pop- 
ulation which would be useless in war. These 
measures were all concerted and carried into 
effect in the most covert and secret manner ; 
and the tidings came at last to Susa that Bab- 
ylon had openly revolted, before the government 
of Darius was aware even of the existence of 
any disaffection. 

The time which the Babylonians chose for 

B.C. 516.] The Revolt of Babylon. 147 

Time chosen for revolt. Story of Syloson. 

their rebellion at last was one when the mova- 
ble forces which Darius had at command were 
at the west, engaged in a campaign on the 
shores of Asia Minor. Darius had sent them 
there for the purpose of restoring a certain ex- 
ile and wanderer named Syloson to Samos, and 
making him the monarch of it. Darius had 
been induced thus to interpose in Syloson's be- 
half by the following very extraordinary cir- 

Syloson was the brother of Polycrates, whose 
unhappy history has already been given. He 
was exiled from Samos some time before Da- 
rius ascended the throne, and he became, con- 
sequently, a sort of soldier of fortune, serving, 
like other such adventurers, wherever there was 
the greatest prospect of glory and pay. In this 
capacity he followed the army of Cambyses into 
Egypt in the memorable campaign described 
in the first chapter of this volume. It happen- 
ed, also, that Darius himself, who was then a 
young noble in the Persian court, and yet of 
no particular distinction, as there was then no 
reason to imagine that he would ever be ele- 
vated to the throne, was also in Cambyses's 
army, and the two young men became acquaint- 
ed with one another there. 

148 Darius the Great. [B.C. 516. 

Syloson's red cloak He gives it to Darius. 

While the army was at Memphis, an inci- 
dent occurred in which these two personages 
were actors, which, though it seemed unim- 
portant at the time, led, in the end, to vast and 
momentous results. The incident was this : 

Syloson had a very handsome red cloak, 
which, as he appeared in it one day, walking 
in the great square at Memphis, strongly at- 
tracted the admiration of Darius. Darius asked 
Syloson if he would sell him the cloak. Syloson 
said that he would not sell it, but would give it 
to him. He thought, probably, that Darius 
would decline receiving it as a present. If he 
did entertain that idea, it seems he was mis- 
taken. Darius praised him for his generosity, 
and accepted the gift. 

Syloson was then sorry that he had made so 
inconsiderate an offer, and regretted very much 
the loss of his cloak. In process of time, the 
campaign of Cambyses in Egypt was ended, 
and Darius returned to Persia, leaving Syloson 
in the west. At length the conspiracy was 
formed for dethroning Smerdis the magian, as 
has already been described, and Darius was 
designated to reign in his stead. As the news 
of the young noble's elevation spread into the 
western world, it reached Syloson. He was 

B.C. 516.] The Revolt of Babylon. 149 

Syloson goes to Susa. Interview with Darius. 

much pleased at receiving the intelligence, and 
he saw immediately that there was a prospect 
of his being able to derive some advantage, him- 
self, from the accession of his old fellow-soldier 
to the throne. 

He immediately proceeded to Susa. He ap- 
plied at the gates of the palace for admission 
to the presence of the king. The porter asked 
him who he was. He replied that he was a 
Greek who had formerly done Darius a service, 
and he wished to see him. The porter carried 
the message to the king. The king could not 
imagine who the stranger should be. He en- 
deavored in vain to recall to mind any instance 
in which he had received a favor from a Greek. 
At length he ordered the attendant to call the 
visitor in. 

Syloson was accordingly conducted into the 
king's presence. Darius looked upon him, but 
did not know him. He directed the interpret- 
ers to inquire what the service was which he 
had rendered the king, and when he had ren- 
dered it. The Greek replied by relating the 
circumstance of the cloak. Darius recollected 
the cloak, though he had forgotten the giver. 
" Are you, indeed," said he, " the man who 
made me that present? I thought then that 

150 Darius the Great. [B.C. 516. 

Request of Syloson. Darius grants it. 

you were very generous to me, and you shall 
see that I do not undervalue the obligation now. 
I am at length, fortunately, in a situation to 
requite the favor, and I will give you such an 
abundance of gold and silver as shall effectually 
prevent your being sorry for having shown a 
kindness to Darius Hystaspes." 

Syloson thanked the king in reply, but said 
that he did not wish for gold and silver. Da- 
rius asked him what reward he did desire. He 
replied that he wished Samos to be restored to 
him : " Samos," said he, " was the possession of 
my brother. When he went away from the 
island, he left it temporarily in the hands of 
MaBandrius, an officer of his household. It still 
remains in the possession of this family, while 
I, the rightful heir, am a homeless wanderer and 
exile, excluded from my brother's dominions by 
one of his slaves." 

Darius immediately determined to accede to 
Syloson's request. He raised an army and put 
it under the command of Otanes, who, it will 
be recollected, was one of the seven conspira- 
tors that combined to dethrone Smerdis the 
magian. He directed Otanes to accompany 
Syloson to Samos, and to put him in possession 
of the island. Syloson was particularly earnest 


B.C. 516.] The Revolt of Babylon. 151 

Citadel of Samos. Measures of Maeandrius 

in his request that no unnecessary violence 
should be used, and no blood shed, or vindictive 
measures of any kind adopted. Darius prom- 
ised to comply with these desires, and gave his 
orders to Otanes accordingly. 

Notwithstanding this, however, the expedi- 
tion resulted in the almost total destruction of 
the Samian population, in the following manner. 
There was a citadel at Samos, to which the in- 
habitants retired when they learned that Otanes 
had embarked his troops in ships on the coast, 
and was advancing toward the island. Msean- 
drius was vexed and angry at the prospect of 
being deprived of his possessions and his power ; 
and, as the people hated him on account of his 
extortion and tyranny, he hated them in return, 
and cared not how much suffering his measures 
might be the means of bringing upon them. 
He had a subterranean and secret passage from 
the citadel to the shore of the sea, where, in a 
secluded cove, were boats or vessels ready to 
take him away. Having made these arrange- 
ments to secure his own safety, he proceeded to 
take such a course and adopt such measures 
as should tend most effectually to exasperate 
and offend the Persians, intending to escape, 
himself, at the last moment, by this subterra- 

152 Darius the Great. [B.C. 516, 

Hypocrisy of Maeandrius. His brother Charilaus. 

nean retreat, and to leave the inhabitants of 
the island at the mercy of their infuriated ene- 

He had a brother whom he had shut up in a 
dungeon, and whose mind, naturally depraved, 
and irritated by his injuries, was in a state of 
malignant and furious despair. Maeandrius 
had pretended to be willing to give up the island 
to the Persians. He had entered into negotia- 
tions with them for this purpose, and the Per- 
sians considered the treaty as in fact concluded. 
The leaders and officers of the army had as- 
sembled, accordingly, before the citadel in a 
peaceful attitude, waiting merely for the com- 
pletion of the forms of surrender, when Cha- 
rilaus, Mssandrius's captive brother, saw them, 
by looking out between the bars of his window, 
in the tower in which he was confined. He 
sent an urgent message to Maeandrius, request- 
ing to speak to him. Maeandrius ordered the 
prisoner to be brought before him. The hag- 
gard and wretched-looking captive, rendered 
half insane by the combined influence of the 
confinement he had endured, and of the wild 
excitement produced by the universal panic and 
confusion which reigned around him, broke forth 
against his brother in the boldest and most 

B.C. 516.] The Revolt of Babylon. 153 

Reproaches of Charilaus. Character of Maeandriua. 

violent invectives. He reproached him in the 
most bitter terms for being willing to yield so 
ingloriously, and without a struggle, to an in- 
vading foe, whom he might easily repel. " You 
have courage and energy enough, it seems," said 
he, " to make war upon an innocent and defense- 
less brother, and to keep him for years in chains 
and in a dungeon, but when an actual enemy 
appears, though he comes to despoil you of all 
your possessions, and to send you into hopeless 
exile, and though, if you had the ordinary cour- 
age and spirit of a man, you could easily drive 
him away, yet you dare not face him. If you 
are too cowardly and mean to do your duty 
yourself, give me your soldiers, and I will do it 
for you. I will drive these Persians back into 
the sea with as much pleasure as it would give 
me to drive you there !" 

Such a nature as that of Maeandrius can not 
be stung into a proper sense of duty by re- 
proaches like these. There seem to have been 
in his heart no moral sensibilities of any kind, 
and there could be, of course, no compunctions 
for the past, and no awakening of new and 
better desires for the future. All the effect 
which was produced upon his mind by these 
bitter denunciations was to convince him that 

154 Darius the Great. [B.C. 516. 

Attack of Charilaus. Slaughter of the Samians. 

to comply with his brother's request would be 
to do the best thing now in his power for widen- 
ing, and extending, and making sure the misery 
and mischief which were impending. He placed 
his troops, therefore, under his brother's orders ; 
and while the infuriated madman sallied forth 
at the head of them to attack the astonished 
Persians on one side of the citadel, Maeandrius 
made his escape through the under-ground pas- 
sage on the other. The Persians were so ex- 
asperated at what appeared to them the basest 
treachery, that, as soon as they could recover 
their arms and get once more into battle array, 
they commenced a universal slaughter of the 
Samians. They spared neither age, sex, nor 
condition ; and when, at last, their vengeance 
was satisfied, and they put the island into Sy- 
loson's hands, and withdrew, he found himself 
in possession of an almost absolute solitude. 

It was while Otanes was absent on this en- 
terprise, having with him a large part of the 
disposable forces of the king, that the Babylo- 
nians revolted. Darius was greatly incensed 
at hearing the tidings. Sovereigns are always 
greatly incensed at a revolt on the part of their 
subjects. The circumstances of the case, what' 
ever they may be, always seem to them to con- 

B.C. 516.] The Revolt of Babylon. 157 

Revolt of Babylon. Insults and jeers of the Babylonians. 

stitute a peculiar aggravation of the offense. 
Darius was indignant that the Babylonians had 
attempted to take advantage of his weakness* 
by rebelling when his armies were away. If 
they had risen when his armies were around 
him, he would have been equally indignant with 
them for having dared to brave his power. 

He assembled all the forces at his disposal, 
and advanced to Babylon. The people of the 
city shut their gates against him, and derided 
him. They danced and capered on the walls, 
making all sorts of gestures expressive of con- 
tempt and defiance, accompanied with shouts 
and outcries of ridicule and scorn. They had 
great confidence in the strength of their de- 
fenses, and then, besides this, they probably re- 
garded Darius as a sort of usurper, who had no 
legitimate title to the throne, and who would 
never be able to subdue any serious resistance 
which might be offered to the establishment of 
his power. It was from these considerations 
that they were emboldened to be guilty of the 
folly of taunting and insulting their foes from 
the city walls. 

Such incidents as this, of personal commu- 
nications between masses of enemies on the 
eve of a battle, were very common in ancient 

158 Darius the Great. [B.C. 516. 

Ancient mode of warfare. Modern warfare. 

warfare, though impossible in modern times. 
In those days, when the missiles employed were 
thrown chiefly by the strength of the human 
arm alone, the combatants could safely draw 
near enough together for each side to hear the 
voices and to see the gesticulations of the other. 
Besiegers could advance sufficiently close to a 
castle or citadel to parley insultingly with the 
garrison upon the walls, and yet be safe from 
the showers of darts and arrows which were 
projected toward them in return. But all this 
is now changed. The reach of cannon, and 
even of musketry, is so long, that combatants, 
approaching a conflict, are kept at a very re- 
spectful distance apart, until the time arrives 
in which the actual engagement is to begin. 
They reconnoiter each other with spy-glasses 
from watch-towers on the walls, or from emi- 
nences in the field, but they can hold no com- 
munication except by a formal embassy, pro- 
tected by a flag of truce, which, with its white 
and distant fluttering, as it slowly advances 
over the green fields, warns the gunners at the 
battery or on the bastion to point their artillery 
another way. 

The Babylonians, on the walls of their city, 
reproached and taunted their foes incessantly. 

B.C. 514.] The Revolt of Babylon. 159 

Taunt of the Babylonians. Fabricating prodigies. 

" Take our advice," said they, " and go back 
where you came from. You will only lose your 
time in besieging Babylon. When mules have 
foals, you will take the city, and not till then." 

The expression " when mules have foals" 
was equivalent in those days to our proverbial 
phrase, " when the sky falls," being used to 
denote any thing impossible or absurd, inas- 
much as mules, like other hybrid animals, do 
not produce young. It was thought in those 
times absolutely impossible that they should do 
so ; but it is now well known that the case is 
not impossible, though very rare. 

It seems to have added very much to the in- 
terest of an historical narrative in the minds of 
the ancient Greeks, to have some prodigy con- 
nected with every great event; and, in order 
to gratify this feeling, the writers appear in 
some instances to have fabricated a prodigy for 
the occasion, and in others to have elevated some 
unusual, though by no means supernatural cir- 
cumstance, to the rank and importance of one. 
The prodigy connected with this siege of Bab- 
ylon was the foaling of a mule. The mule 
belonged to a general in the army of Darius, 
named Zopyrus. It was after Darius had been 
prosecuting the siege of the city for a year and 

160 Darius the Great. [B.C. 514 

The mule of Zopyrus. Interview with Darius. 

a half, without any progress whatever toward 
the accomplishment of his end. The army be- 
gan to despair of success. Zopyrus, with, the 
rest, was expecting that the siege would be 
indefinitely prolonged, or, perhaps, absolutely 
abandoned, when his attention was strongly at- 
tracted to the phenomenon which had happened 
in respect to the mule. He remembered the 
taunt of the Babylonian on the wall, and it 
seemed to him that the whole occurrence por- 
tended that the time had now arrived when some 
way might be devised for the capture of the city. 

Portents and prophecies are often the causes 
of their own fulfillment, and this portent led 
Zopyrus to endeavor to devise some means to 
accomplish the end in view. He went first, 
however, to Darius, to converse with him upon 
the subject, with a view of ascertaining how far 
he was really desirous of bringing the siege to 
a termination. He wished to know whether 
the object, was of sufficient importance in Dari- 
us's mind to warrant any great sacrifice on his 
own part to effect it. 

He found that it was so. Darius was ex- 
tremely impatient to end the siege and to cap- 
ture the city ; and Zopyrus saw at once that, 
if he could in any way be the means of aocom- 

B.C. 514.] TheKevolt of Babylon. 161 

Desperate plan of Zopyrus. He mutilates himself. 

plishing the work, he should entitle himself, in 
the highest possible degree, to the gratitude of 
the king. 

He determined to go himself into Babylon as 
a pretended deserter from Darius, with a view 
to obtaining an influence and a command within 
the city, which should enable him afterward to 
deliver it up to the besiegers ; and, in order to 
convince the Babylonians that his desertion was 
real, he resolved to mutilate himself in a man- 
ner so dreadful as would effectually prevent 
their imagining that the injuries which he suf- 
fered were inflicted by any contrivance of his 
own. He accordingly cut off his hair and his 
ears, and mutilated his face in a manner too 
shocking to be here detailed, inflicting injuries 
which could never be repaired. He caused 
himself to be scourged, also, until his whole 
body was covered with cuts and contusions. 
He then went, wounded and bleeding as he was, 
into the presence of Darius, to make known 
his plans. 

Darius expressed amazement and consterna- 
tion at the terrible spectacle. He leaped from 
his ■ throne and rushed toward Zopyrus, de- 
manding who had dared to maltreat one of his 
generals in such a manner. When Zopyrus re- 

162 Darius the Great. [B.C. 514. 

Darius's astonishment. Final arrangements. 

plied that he had himself done the deed, the 
king's astonishment was greater than before. 
He told Zopyrus that he was insane. Some 
sudden paroxysm of madness had come ovei 
him. Zopyrus replied that he was not insane; 
and he explained his design. His plan, he said, 
was deliberately and calmly formed, and it 
should be steadily and faithfully executed. " I 
did not make known my design to you," said 
he, " before I had taken the preliminary steps, 
for I knew that you would prevent my taking 
them. It is now too late for that, and nothing 
remains but to reap, if possible, the advantage 
which may be derived from what I have done." 
He then arranged with Darius the plans 
which he had formed, so far as he needed the 
co-operation of the king in the execution of 
them. If he could gain a partial command in 
the Babylonian army, he was to make a sally 
from the city gates on a certain day, and at- 
tack a portion of the Persian army, which Da- 
rius was to leave purposely exposed, in order 
that he might gain credit with the Babyloni- 
ans by destroying them. From this he sup- 
posed that the confidence which the Babyloni- 
ans would repose in him would increase, and 
he might consequently receive a greater com- 

B.C. 514.] The Revolt of Babylon. 163 

Preliminary arrangements. Zopyrus leaves the Persian camp. 

mand. Thus he might, by acting in concert 
with Darius without, gradually gain such an 
ascendency within the city as finally to have 
power to open the gates and lot the besiegers 
in. Darius was to station a detachment of a 
thousand men near a certain gate, leaving them 
imperfectly armed, on the tenth day after Zo- 
pyrus entered the city. These Zopyrus was 
to destroy. Seven days afterward, two thou- 
sand more were to be stationed in a similar 
manner at another point ; and these were also 
to be destroyed by a second sally. Twenty 
days after this, four thousand more were to be 
similarly exposed. Thus seven thousand in- 
nocent and defenseless men would be slaugh- 
tered, but that, as Zopyrus said, would be "of 
no consequence." The lives of men were es- 
timated by heroes and conquerors in those days 
only at their numerical value in swelling the 
army roll. 

These things being all arranged, Zopyrus 
took leave of the King to go to Babylon. As 
he left the Persian camp, he began to run, look- 
ing round behind him continually, as if in flight. 
Some men, too, pretended to pursue him. He 
fled toward one of the gates of the city. The 
sentinels on the walls saw him coming. When 

164 Darius the Great. [B.C. 514. 

Success of Zopyrus's stratagem. His piteous story. 

he reached the gate, the porter inside of it talked 
with him through a small opening, and heard 
his story. The porter then reported the case 
to the superior officers, and they commanded 
that the fugitive should he admitted. When 
conducted into the presence of the magistrates, 
he related a piteous story of the cruel treatment 
which he had received from Darius, and of the 
difficulty which he had experienced in making 
his escape from the tyrant's hands. He ut- 
tered, too, dreadful imprecations against Da- 
rius, and expressed the most eager determina- 
tion to he revenged. He informed the Babylo- 
nians, moreover, that he was well acquainted 
with all Darius's plans and designs, and with 
the disposition which he had made of his army ; 
and that, if they would, in a few days, when his 
wounds should have in some measure healed, 
give him a small command, he would show 
them, by actual trial, what he could do to aid 
their cause. 

They acceded to this proposition, and fur- 
nished Zopyrus, at the end of ten days, with a 
moderate force. Zopyrus, at the head of this 
force, sallied forth from the gate which had 
been previously agreed upon between him and 
Darius, and fell upon the unfortunate thousand 

B.C. 514] The Revolt of Babylon. 165 

The three victories. Zopyrus intrusted with power in Babylon. 

that had been stationed there for the purpose 
of being destroyed. They were nearly defense- 
less, and Zopyrus, though his force was inferior, 
cut them all to pieces before they could be re- 
enforced or protected, and then retreated safely 
into the city again. He was received by the 
Babylonians with the utmost exultation and 
joy. He had no difficulty in obtaining, seven 
days afterward, the command of a larger force, 
when, sallying forth from another gate, as had 
been agreed upon by Darius, he gained anoth- 
er victory, destroying, on this occasion, twice 
as many Persians as before. These exploits 
gained the pretended deserter unbounded fame 
and honor within the city. The populace ap- 
plauded him with continual acclamations ; ami 
the magistrates invited him to their councils, 
offered him high command, and governed their 
own plans and measures by his advice. At 
length, on the twentieth day, he made his third 
sally, at which time he destroyed and captured 
a still greater number than before. This gave 
him such an influence and position within the 
city, in respect to its defense, that he had no 
difficulty in getting intrusted with the keys of 
certain gates — those, namely, by which he had 
agreed that the army of Darius should be ad- 

166 Darius the Great. [B.C. 514. 

Zopyrus admits the Persians. Fall of Babylon. 

When the time arrived, the Persians ad- 
vanced to the attack of the city in that quarter, 
and the Babylonians rallied as usual on the 
walls to repel them. The contest had scarcely 
begun before they found that the gates were 
open, and that the columns of the enemy were 
pouring in. The city was thus soon wholly at 
■ the mercy of the conqueror. Darius dismantled 
the walls, carried off the brazen gates, and cru- 
cified three thousand of the most distinguished 
inhabitants ; then establishing over the rest a 
government of his own, he withdrew his troops 
and returned to Susa. He bestowed upon Zo- 
pyrus, at Susa, all possible rewards and honors. 
The marks of his wounds and mutilations could 
never be effaced, but Darius often said that he 
would gladly give up twenty Babylons to be 
able to efface them. 

J3.C.olo.] Invasion of Scythia. 167 

Darius's authority fully established throughout his dominions. 

Chapter VIII. 
The Invasion of Scythia. 

IN the reigns of ancient monarchs and con- 
querors, it often happened that the first 
great transaction which called forth their en- 
ergies was the suppression of a rebellion within 
their dominions, and the second, an expedition 
against some ferocious and half-savage nations 
beyond their frontiers. Darius followed this 
general example. The suppression of the Baby- 
lonian revolt established his authority through- 
out the whole interior of his empire. If that 
vast, and populous, and wealthy city was found 
unable to resist his power, no other smaller 
province or capital could hope to succeed in the 
attempt. The whole empire of Asia, therefore, 
from the capital at Susa, out to the extreme 
limits and bounds to which Cyrus had extended 
it, yielded without any further opposition to 
his sway. He felt strong in his position, and 
being young and ardent in temperament, he 
experienced a desire to exercise his strength. 
For some reason or other, he seems to have 

168 Darius the (treat. [B.C. 513. 

The Scythians. Ancient account of them. 

been not quite prepared yet to grapple with 
the Greeks, and he concluded, accordingly, first 
to test his powers in respect to foreign invasion 
by a war upon the Scythians. This was an 
undertaking which required some courage and 
resolution ; for it was while making an incur- 
sion into the country of the Scythians that Cy- 
rus, his renowned predecessor, and the founder 
of the Persian empire, had fallen. 

The term Scythians seems to have been a 
generic designation, applied indiscriminately to 
vast hordes of half-savage tribes occupying those 
wild and inhospitable regions of the north, that 
extended along the shores of the Black and 
Caspian Seas, and the banks of the Danube. 
The accounts which are given by the ancient 
historians of the manners and customs of these 
people, are very inconsistent and contradictory ; 
as, in fact, the accounts of the characters of 
savages, and of the habits and usages of sav- 
age life, have always been in every age. It is 
very little that any one cultivated observer can 
really know, in respect to the phases of charac- 
ter, the thoughts and feelings, the sentiments, 
the principles and the faith, and even the modes 
of life, that prevail among uncivilized aborigines 
living in forests, or roaming wildly over unin- 

B.C. 513.] Invasion of Scythia. 169 

Pictures of savage life Their diversity. 

closed and trackless plains. Of those who have 
the opportunity to observe them, accordingly, 
some extol, in the highest degree, their rude 
but charming simplicity, their truth and faith- 
fulness, the strength of their filial and conju- 
gal affection, and their superiority of spirit in 
rising above the sordid sentiments and gross 
vices of civilization. They are not the slaves, 
these writers say, of appetite and passion. They 
have no inordinate love of gain ; they are pa- 
tient in enduring suffering, grateful for kind- 
ness received, and inflexibly firm in their ad- 
herence to the principles of honor and duty. 
Others, on the other hand, see in savage life 
nothing but treachery, cruelty, brutality, and 
crime. Man in his native state, as they im- 
agine, is but a beast, with just intelligence 
enough to give effect to his depravity. With- 
out natural affection, without truth, without a 
sense of justice, or the means of making law a 
substitute for it, he lives in a scene of continual 
conflict, in which the rights of the weak and 
the defenseless are always overborne by brutal 
and tyrannical power. 

The explanation of this diversity is doubtless 
this, that in savage life, as well as in every 
other state of human society, all the varieties 

170 Darius the Great. [B.C.513. 

Social instincts of man. Their universality. 

of human conduct and character are exhibited ; 
and the attention of each observer is attracted 
to the one or to the other class of phenomena, 
according to the circumstances in which he is 
placed when he makes his observations, or the 
mood of mind which prevails within him when 
he records them. There must be the usual 
virtues of social life, existing in a greater or 
less degree, in all human communities ; for such 
principles as a knowledge of the distinction of 
right and wrong, the idea of property and of 
individual rights, the obligation resting on every 
one to respect them, the sense of justice, and 
of the ill desert of violence and cruelty, are all 
universal instincts of the human soul, as uni- 
versal and as essential to humanity as mater- 
nal or filial affection, or the principle of conju- 
gal love. They were established by the great 
Author of nature as constituent elements in the 
formation of man. Man could not continue to 
exist, as a gregarious animal, without them. 
It would accordingly be as impossible to find a 
community of men without these moral senti- 
ments generally prevalent among them, as to 
find vultures or tigers that did not like to pur- 
sue and take their prey, or deer without a pro- 
pensity to fly from danger. The laws and 

BC. 513.] Invasion of Scythia. 171 

Moral sentiments of mankind. Religious depravity. 

usages of civilized society are the expression 
and the result of these sentiments, not the ori- 
gin and foundation of them ; and violence, cru- 
elty, and crime are the exceptions to their op- 
eration, very few, in all communities, savage 
or civilized, in comparison with the vast pre- 
ponderance of cases in which they are obeyed. 

This view of the native constitution of the 
human character, which it is obvious, on very 
slight reflection, must be true, is not at all op- 
posed, as it might at first appear to be, by the 
doctrine of the theological writers in the Chris- 
tian Church in respect to the native depravity 
of man ; for the depravity here referred to is a 
religious depravity, an alienation of the heart 
from God, and a rebellious and in submissive 
spirit in respect to his law. Neither the Scrip- 
tures nor the theological writers who interpret 
them ever call in question the universal ex- 
istence and prevalence of those instincts that 
are essential to the social welfare of man. 

But we must return to the Scythians. 

The tribes which Darius proposed to attack 
occupied the countries north of the Danube, 
His route, therefore, for the invasion of their 
territories would lead him through Asia Minor, 
thence across the Hellespont or the Bosporus 

172 Darius the Great. [B.C. 513. 

Advice of Artabanus. Emissaries sent forward 

into Thrace, and from Thrace across the Dan- 
ube. It was a distant and dangerous expedition 

Darius had a brother named Artabanus. Ar^ 
tabanus was of opinion that the enterprise which 
the king was contemplating was not only dis- 
tant and dangerous, but that the country of the 
Scythians was of so little value that the end 
to be obtained by success would be wholly in- 
adequate to compensate for the exertions, the 
costs, and the hazards which he must necessa- 
rily incur in the prosecution of it. But Darius 
was not to be dissuaded. He thanked his 
brother for his advice, but ordered the prepara- 
tions for the expedition to go on. 

He sent emissaries forward, in advance, over 
the route that his army was destined to take, 
transmitting orders to the several provinces 
which were situated on the line of his march 
to prepare the way for the passage of his troops. 
Among other preparations, they were to con- 
struct a (bridge of boats across the Bosporus 
at Chalcedon. This work was intrusted to the 
charge and superintendence of an engineer of 
Samos named Mandrocles. The people of the 
provinces were also to furnish bodies of troops, 
both infantry and cavalry, to join the army on 
its march. 

B.C. 513.] Invasion of Scythia. 173 

The petition of CEbazus. Darius's wanton cruelty. 

The soldiers that were enlisted to go on this 
remote and dangerous expedition joined the 
army, as is usual in such cases, some willingly, 
from love of adventure, or the hope of opportu- 
nities for plunder, and for that unbridled indul- 
gence of appetite and passion which soldiers so 
often look forward to as a part of their reward ; 
others from hard compulsion, being required to 
leave friends and home, and all that they held 
dear, under the terror of a stern and despotic 
edict which they dared not disobey. It was 
even dangerous to ask for exemption. 

As an instance of this, it is said that there 
was a Persian named CEbazus, who had three 
sons that had been drafted into the army. 
CEbazus, desirous of not being left wholly alone 
in his old age, made a request to the king that 
he would allow one of the sons to remain at 
home with his father. Darius appeared to re- 
ceive this petition favorably. He told CEbazus 
that the request was so very modest and con- 
siderate that he would grant more than he 
asked. He would allow all three of his sons 
to remain with him. CEbazus retired from the 
king's presence overjoyed at the thought that 
his family was not to be separated at all. Da- 
rius ordered his guards to kill the three young 

174 Darius the Great. [B.C. 513. 

Place of rendezvous. The fleet of galleys. 

men, and to send the dead bodies home, with a 
message to their father that his sons were re- 
stored to him, released forever from all obliga- 
tion to serve the king. 

The place of general rendezvous for the va- 
rious forces which were to join in the expedi- 
tion, consisting of the army which marched with 
Darius from Susa, and also of the troops and 
ships which the maritime provinces of Asia 
Minor were to supply on the way, was on the 
shores of the Bosporus, at the point where 
Mendrocles had constructed the bridge.* The 
people of Ionia, a region situated in Asia 
Minor, on the shores of the iEgean Sea, had 
been ordered to furnish a fleet of galleys, which 
they were to build and equip, and then send to 
the bridge. The destination of this fleet was 
to the Danube. It was to pass up the Bospo- 
rus into the Euxine Sea, now called the Black 
Sea, and thence into the mouth of the river. 
After ascending the Danube to a certain point, 
the men were to land and build a bridge across 
that river, using, very probably, their galleys 
for this purpose. In the mean time, the army 
was to cross the Bosporus by the bridge which 

* For the track of Darius on this expedition, see the map 
at the commencement of this volume. 

B.C. 513.] Invasion of Scythia. 175 

Darius's march through Asia Minor. Monuments. 

had been erected there by Mandrocles, and pur- 
sue their way toward the Danube by land, 
through the kingdom of Thrace. By this ar- 
rangement, it was supposed that the bridge 
across the Danube would be ready by the time 
that the main body of the army arrived on the 
banks of the river. The idea of thus building 
in Asia Minor a bridge for the Danube, in the 
form of a vast fleet of galleys, to be sent round 
through the Black Sea to the mouths of the 
river, and thence up the river to its place of 
destination, was original and grand. It strik- 
ingly marks the military genius and skill which 
gave the Greeks so extended a fame, for it was 
by the Greeks that the exploit was to be per- 

Darius marched magnificently through Asia 
Minor, on his way to the Bosporus, at the head 
of an army of seventy thousand men. He 
moved slowly, and the engineers and architects 
that accompanied him built columns and mon- 
uments here and there, as he advanced, to com- 
memorate his progress. These structures were 
covered with inscriptions, which ascribed to Da- 
rius, as the leader of the enterprise, the most 
extravagant praise. At length the splendid 
array arrived at the place of rendezvous on the 

176 Darius the Great. [B.C. 513. 

Arrival at the Bosporus. The bridge of boats. 

Bosporus, where there was soon presented to 
view a very grand and imposing scene. 

The bridge of boats was completed, and the 
Ionian fleet, consisting of six hundred galleys, 
was at anchor near it in the stream. Long 
lines of tents were pitched upon the shore, and 
thousands of horsemen and of foot soldiers were 
drawn up in array, their banners flying, and 
their armor glittering in the sun, and all eager 
to see and to welcome the illustrious sovereign 
who had come, with so much pomp and splen- 
dor, to take them under his command. The 
banks of the Bosporus were picturesque and 
high, and all the eminences were crowded with 
spectators, to witness the imposing magnifi- 
cence of the spectacle. 

Darius encamped his army on the shore, and 
began to make the preparations necessary for 
the final departure of the expedition. He had 
been thus far within his own dominions. He 
was no w^ however, to pass into another quarter 
of the globe, to plunge into new and unknown 
dangers, among hostile, savage, and ferocious 
tribes. It was right that he should pause until 
he had considered well his plans, and secured 
attention to every point which could influence 

B.C. 513.] Invasion of Scythia. 177 

Reward of Mandrocles. The group of statuary. 

He first examined the bridge of boats. He 
was very much pleased with the construction of 
it. He commended Mandrocles for his skill and 
fidelity in the highest terms, and loaded him 
with rewards and honors. Mandrocles used the 
money which Darius thus gave him in employ- 
ing an artist to form a piece of statuary which 
should at once commemorate the building of the 
bridge and give to Darius the glory of it. The 
group represented the Bosporus with the bridge 
thrown over it, and the king on his throne re- 
viewing his troops as they passed over the struc- 
ture. This statuary was placed, when finished, 
in a temple in Greece, where it was universally 
admired. Darius was very much pleased both 
with the idea of this sculpture on the part of 
Mandrocles, and with the execution of it by the 
artist. He gave the bridge builder new re- 
wards ; he recompensed the artist, also, with 
similar munificence. He was pleased that they 
had contrived so happy a way of at the same 
time commemorating the bridging of the Bos- 
porus and rendering exalted honor to him. 

The bridge was situated about the middle of 
the Bosporus ; and as the strait itself is about 
eighteen miles long, it was nine miles from the 
bridge to the Euxine Sea. There is a small 


178 Darius the Great. [B.C. 513. 

The Cyanean Islands. Darius makes an excursion to them. 

group of islands near" the mouth of this strait, 
where it opens into the sea, which were called 
in those days the Cyanean Islands. They were 
famed in the time of Darius for having once 
heen floating islands, and enchanted. Their 
supernatural properties had disappeared, hut 
there was one attraction which still pertained 
to them. They were situated beyond the limits 
of the strait, and the visitor who landed upon 
them could take his station on some picturesque 
cliff or smiling hill, and extend his view far and 
wide over the blue waters of the Euxme Sea. 

Darius determined to make an excursion to 
these islands while the fleet and the army were 
completing their preparations at the bridge. 
He embarked, accordingly, on board a splendid 
galley, and, sailing along the Bosporus till he 
reached the sea, he landed on one of the islands. 
There was a temple there, consecrated to one 
of the Grecian deities. Darius, accompanied 
by his attendants and followers, ascended to 
this temple, and, taking a seat which had been 
provided for him there, he surveyed the broad 
expanse of water which extended like an ocean 
before him, and contemplated the grandeur of 
the scene with the greatest admiration and de- 

B.C. 513.J Invasion of Scythia. 179 

The two monuments. Inscriptions on them. 

At length he returned to the bridge, where 
he found the preparations for the movement of 
the fleet and of the army nearly completed. He 
determined, before leaving the Asiatic shores, 
to erect a monument to commemorate his ex^ 
pedition, on the spot from which he was to take 
his final departure. He accordingly directed 
two columns of white marble to be reared, and 
inscriptions to be cut upon them, giving such 
particulars in respect to the expedition as it 
was desirable thus to preserve. These inscrip- 
tions contained his own name in very conspic- 
uous characters as the leader of the enterprise ; 
also an enumeration of the various nations that 
had contributed to form his army, with the num- 
bers which each had lurnished. There was a 
record of corresponding particulars, too, in re- 
spect to the fleet. The inscriptions were the 
same upon the two columns, except that upon 
the one it was written in the Assyrian tongue, 
which was the general language of the Per- 
sian empire, and upon the other in the Greek 
Thus the two monuments were intended, th^, 
one for the Asiatic, and the other for the Eu- 
ropean world. 

At length the day of departure arrived. The 
fleet set sail, and the immense train of the army 

180 Darius the (treat. [B.C. 513. 

The troops cross the bridge Movements of the fleet. 

put itself in motion to cross the bridge.* The 
fleet went on through the Bosporus to the Eux- 
ine, and thence along the western coast of that 
sea till it reached the mouths of the Danube. 
The ships entered the river by one of the branch- 
es which form the delta of the stream, and as- 
cended for two days. This carried them above 
the ramifications into which the river divides 
itself at its mouth, to a spot where the current 
was confined to a single channel, and where 
the banks were firm. Here they landed, and 
while one part of the force which they had 
brought were occupied in organizing guards 
and providing defenses to protect the ground, 
the remainder commenced the work of arrang- 
ing the vessels of the fleet, side by side, across 
the stream, to form the bridge. 

In the mean time, Darius, leading the great 
body of the army, advanced from the Bosporus 
by land. The country which the troops thus 
traversed was Thrace. They met with various 
adventures as they proceeded, and saw, as the 
accounts of the expedition state, many strange 
and marvelous phenomena. They came, for ex- 
ample, to the sources of a very wonderful river, 
which flows west and south toward the iEgean 

* See Frontispiece. 

B.C. 513.] Invasion of Scythia. 181 

• The River Tearus. Its wonderful sources. 

Sea. The name of the river was the Tearus. 
It came from thirty-eight springs, all issuing 
from the same rock, some hot and some cold. 
The waters of the stream which was produced 
by the mingling of these fountains were pure, 
limpid, and delicious, and were possessed of re- 
markable medicinal properties, being effica- 
cious for the cure of various diseases. Darius 
was so much pleased with this river, that his 
army halted to refresh themselves with its 
waters, and he caused one of his monuments 
to be erected on the spot, the inscription of 
which contained not only the usual memorials 
of the march, but also a tribute to the salubrity 
of the waters of this magical stream. 

At one point in the course of the march 
through Thrace, Darius conceived the idea of 
varying the construction of his line of monu- 
ments by building a cairn. A cairn is a heap 
of stones, such as is reared in the mountains of 
Scotland and of Switzerland by the voluntary 
additions of every passer by, to commemorate a 
spot marked as the scene of some accident or 
disaster. As each guide finishes the story ol 
the incident in the hearing of the party which 
he conducts, each tourist who has listened to it 
adds his stone to the heap, until the rude sfa-uc- 

182 Darius the Great. [B.C. 513. 

The cairn. Primitive mode of census-taking. 

lure attains sometimes to a very considerable 
xize. Darius, fixing upon a suitable spot near 
one of his encampments, commanded every sol- 
dier in the army to bring a stone and place it 
on the pile. A vast mound rose rapidly from 
these contributions, which, when completed, not 
only commemorated the march of the army, 
but denoted, also, by the immense number of 
the stones entering into the composition of the 
pile, the countless multitude of soldiers that 
formed the expedition. 

There was a story told to Darius, as he was 
traversing these regions, of a certain king, reign- 
ing over some one of the nations that occupied 
them, who wished to make an enumeration of 
the inhabitants of his realm. The mode which 
he adopted was to require every man in his do- 
minions to send him an arrow head. AYlien all 
the arrow heads were in, the vast collection was 
counted by the official arithmeticians, and the 
total of the population was thus attained. The 
arrow heads were then laid together in a sort 
of monumental pile. It was, perhaps, this 
primitive mode of census-taking which sug- 
gested to Darius the idea of his cairn. 

There was a tribe of barbarians through 
wiiose dominions Darius passed on his way from 

B.C. 513.] Invasion of Scythia. 183 

Instinctive feeling of dependence on a supernatural power. 

the Bosporus to the Danube, that observed a 
custom in their religious worship, which, though 
in itself of a shocking character, suggests re- 
flections of salutary influence for our own 
minds. There is a universal instinct in the 
human heart, leading it strongly to feel the 
need of help from an unseen and supernatural 
world in its sorrows and trials ; and it is almost 
always the case that rude and savage nations, 
in their attempts to obtain this spiritual aid, 
connect the idea of personal privation and suf- 
fering on their part, self inflicted if necessary, 
as a means of seeking it. It seems as if the 
instinctive conviction of personal guilt, which 
associates itself so naturally and so strongly in 
the minds of men with all conceptions of the 
unseen world and of divine power, demands 
something like an expiation as an essential pre- 
requisite to obtaining audience and acceptance 
with the King of Heaven. The tribe of sav- 
ages above referred to manifested this feeling 
by a dreadful observance. Once in every five 
years they were accustomed to choose by lot, 
with solemn ceremonies, one of their number, 
to be sent as a legate or embassador to their 
god. The victim, when chosen, was laid down 
upon the ground in the midst of the vast as- 

184 Darius the Great. [B.C.513. 

Strange religious observance. Arrival at the Danube 

sembly convened to witness the rite, while offi- 
cers designated for the purpose stood by, armed 
with javelins. Other men, selected for their 
great personal strength, then took the man 
from the ground by the hands and feet, and 
swinging him to and fro three times to gain 
momentum, they threw him with all their force 
into the air, and the armed men, when he came 
down, caught him on the points of their jave- 
lins. If he was killed by this dreadful impale- 
ment, all was right. He would bear the mes- 
sage of the wants and necessities of the tribe to 
their god, and they might reasonably expect a 
favorable reception. If, on the other hand, he 
did not die, he was thought to be ( rejected by the 
god as a wicked man and an unsuitable mes- 
senger. The unfortunate convalescent was, in 
such cases, dismissed in disgrace, and another 
messenger chosen. 

The army of Darius reached the banks of the 
Danube at last, and they found that the fleet 
of the Ionians had attained the point agreed 
upon before them, and were awaiting their ar- 
rival. The vessels were soon arranged in the 
form of a bridge across the stream, and as there 
was no enemy at hand to embarrass them, the 
army soon accomplished the passage. They 

B.C. 513.] Invasion of Scythia. 185 

Orders to destroy the bridge. Counsel of the Grecian general. 

were now fairly in the Scythian country, and 
immediately began their preparations to ad- 
vance and meet the foe. Darius gave orders 
to have the bridge broken up, and the galleys 
abandoned and destroyed, as he chose rather to 
take with him the whole of his force, than to 
leave a guard behind sufficient to protect this 
shipping. These orders were about to be exe- 
cuted, when a Grecian general, who was at- 
tached to one of the bodies of troops which were 
furnished from the provinces of Asia Minor, 
asked leave to speak to the king. The king 
granted him an audience, when he expressed 
his opinion as follows : 

" It seems to me to be more prudent, sire, to 
leave the bridge as it is, under the care of those 
who have constructed it, as it may be that we 
shall have occasion to use it on our return. I 
do not recommend the preservation of it as a 
means of securing a retreat, for, in case we meet 
the Scythians at all, I am confident of victory ; 
but our enemy consists of wandering hordes 
who have no fixed habitation, and their coun- 
try is entirely without cities or posts of any 
kind which they will feel any strong interest in 
defending, and thus it is possible that we may 
not be able to find any enemy to combat. Be- 

186 Darius the Great. [B.C. 513. 

The bridge is preserved. Guard left to protect it. 

sides, if we succeed in our enterprise as com- 
pletely as we can desire, it will be important, 
on many accounts, to preserve an open and 
free communication with the countries behind 

The king approved of this counsel, and coun- 
termanded his orders for the destruction of the 
bridge. He directed that the Ionian forces that 
had accompanied the fleet should remain at the 
river to guard the bridge. They were to re- 
main thus on guard for two months, and then, 
if Darius did not return, and if they heard no 
tidings of him, they were at liberty to leave 
their post, and to go back, with their galleys, 
to their own land again. 

Two months would seem to be a very short 
time to await the return of an army going on 
such an expedition into boundless and trackless 
wilds. There can, however, scarcely be any 
accidental error in the statement of the time, as 
the mode which Darius adopted to enable the 
guard thus left at the bridge to keep their reck- 
oning was a very singular one, and it is very 
particularly described. He took a cord, it is 
said, and tied sixty knots in it. This cord he 
delivered to the Ionian chiefs who were to be 
left in charge of the bridge, directing them to 

B.C. 513.] Invasion of Scythia. 187 

Singular mode of reckoning. Probable reason for employing it. 

untie one of the knots every day. When the 
cord should become, by this process, wholly 
free, the detachment were also at liberty. They 
might thereafter, at any time, abandon the post 
intrusted to them, and return to their homes. 

We can not suppose that military men, cap- 
able of organizing a force of seventy thousand 
troops for so distant an expedition, and possess- 
ed of sufficient science and skill to bridge the 
Bosporus and the Danube, could have been 
under any necessity of adopting so childish a 
method as this as a real reliance in regulating 
their operations. It must be recollected, how- 
ever, that, though the commanders in these an- 
cient days were intelligent and strong-minded 
men, the common soldiers were but children 
both in intellect and in ideas ; and it was the 
custom of all great commanders to employ out- 
ward and visible symbols to influence and gov- 
ern them. The sense of loneliness and deser- 
tion which such soldiers would naturally feel in 
being left in solitude on the banks of the river, 
would be much diminished by seeing before 
them a marked and definite termination to the 
period of their stay, and to have, in the cord 
hanging up in their camp, a visible token that 
the remnant of time that remained was steadily 

188 Darius the Great. [B.C.513. 

Darius's determination to return before the knots should be all untied. 

diminishing day by day ; while, in the mean 
time, Darius was fully determined that, long 
before the knots should be all untied, he would 
return to the river,, 

B.C. 513.] Retreat from Scythia. 189 

Motive for Darius's invasion. The foundation of government. 

c h apte r ix. 

The Retreat from Scythia. 

r I ^HE motive which dictated Darius's inva- 
-*- sion of Scythia seems to have heen purely 
a selfish and domineering love of power. The 
attempts of a stronger and more highly civil- 
ized state to extend its dominion over a weaker 
and more lawless one, are not, however, neces- 
sarily and always of this character. Divine 
Providence, in making men gregarious in na- 
ture, has given them an instinct of organiza- 
tion, which is as intrinsic and as essential a 
characteristic of the human soul as maternal 
love or the principle of self-preservation. The 
right, therefore, of organizations of men to es- 
tablish law and order among themselves, and to 
extend these principles to other communities 
around them, so far as such interpositions are 
really promotive of the interests and welfare of 
those affected by them, rests on precisely the 
same foundation as the right of the father to 
govern the child. This foundation is the exist- 
ence and universality of an instinctive principle, 

190 Darius the Great. [B.C. 513. 

Darius without justification in invading Scythia. 

implanted by the Creator in the human heart ; 
a principle which we are bound to submit to, 
both because it is a fundamental and constitu- 
ent element in the very structure of man, and 
because its recognition and the acknowledg- 
ment of its authority are absolutely essential to 
his continued existence. Wherever law and or- 
der, therefore, among men do not exist, it may 
be properly established and enforced by any 
neighboring organization that has power to do 
it, just as wherever there is a group of children 
they may be justly controlled and governed by 
their father. It seems equally unnecessary to 
invent a fictitious and wholly imaginary com- 
pact to justify the jurisdiction in the one case 
as in the other. 

If the Scythians, therefore, had been in a 
state of confusion and anarchy, Darius might 
justly have extended his own well-regulated 
and settled government over them, and, in so 
doing, wduld have promoted the general good 
of mankind. But he had no such design. It 
was a desire for personal aggrandizement, and 
a love of fame and power, which prompted him. 
He offered it as a pretext to justify his inva- 
sion, that the Scythians, in former years, had 
made incursions into the Persian dominions; 

B.C. 513.] Retreat from Scythia. 191 

Alarm of the Scythians. Condition of the tribes. 

but this was only a pretext. The expedition 
was a wanton attack upon neighbors whom he 
supposed unable to resist him, simply for the 
purpose of adding to his own already gigantic 

When Darius commenced his march from 
the river, the Scythians had heard rumors of 
his approach. They sent, as soon as they were 
aware of the impending danger, to all the na- 
tions and tribes around them, in order to se- 
cure their alliance and aid These people were 
all wandering and half-savage tribes, like the 
Scythians themselves, though each seems to 
have possessed its own special and distinctive 
mark of barbarity. One tribe were accustom- 
ed to carry home the heads of the enemies 
which they had slain in battle, and each one, 
impaling his own dreadful trophy upon a stake, 
would set it up upon his house-top, over the 
chimney, where they imagined that it would 
have the effect of a charm, and serve as a pro- 
tection for the family. Another tribe lived in 
habits of promiscuous intercourse, like the low- 
er orders of animals ; and so, as the historian 
absurdly states, being, in consequence of this 
mode of life, all connected together by the ties 
of consanguinity, they lived in perpetual peace 

192 Darius the Great. [B.C. 513. 

Men metamorphosed into wolves. Story of the Amazons. 

and good will, without any envy, or jealousy, 
or other evil passion. A third occupied a re- 
gion so infested with serpents that they were 
once driven wholly out of the country by them. 
It was said of these people that, once in every 
year, they were all metamorphosed into wolves, 
and, after remaining for a few days in this form, 
they were transformed again into men. A 
fourth tribe painted their bodies blue and red, 
and a fifth were cannibals. 

The most remarkable, however, of all the 
tales related about these northern savages was 
the story of the Sauromateans and their Ama- 
zonian wives. The Amazons were a nation of 
masculine and ferocious women, who often fig- 
ure in ancient histories and legends. They 
rode on horseback astride like men, and their 
courage and strength in battle were such that 
scarcely any troops could subdue them. It 
happened, however, upon one time, that some 
Greeks conquered a body of them somewhere 
upon the shores of the Euxine Sea, and took a 
large number of them prisoners. They placed 
these prisoners on board of three ships, and put 
to sea The Amaaons rose upon their captors 
and threw them overboard, and thus obtained 
possession of the ships. They immediately pro- 

B.C. 513.] Retreat from Scythia. 193 

Adventures of the Amazons. Two of them captured. 

ceeded toward the shore, and landed, not know- 
ing where they were. It happened to be on 
the northwestern coast of the sea that they 
landed. Here they roamed up and down the 
country, until presently they fell in with a 
troop of horses. These they seized and mount- 
ed, arming themselves, at the same time, either 
with the weapons which they had procured on 
hoard the ships, or fabricated, themselves, on 
the shore. Thus organized and equipped, they 
began to make excursions for plunder, and soon 
became a most formidable band of marauders. 
The Scythians of the country supposed that 
they were men, but they could learn nothing 
certain respecting them. Their language, their 
appearance, their manners, and their dress were 
totally new, and the inhabitants were utterly 
unable to conceive who they were, and from 
what place they could so suddenly and myste- 
riously have come. 

At last, in one of the encounters which took 
place, the Scythians took two of these strange 
invaders prisoners To their utter amazement, 
they found that they were women. On mak- 
ing this discovery, they changed their mode of 
dealing with them, and resolved upon a plan 

based on the supposed universality of the in- 


194 Darius the (jreat. [B.C. 513. 

The corps of cavaliers Their maneuvers. 

stincts of their sex They enlisted a corps of 
the most handsome and vigorous young men 
that could he obtained, and after giving them 
instructions, the nature of which will he learn- 
ed hy the result, they sent them forth to meet 
the Amazons. 

The corps of Scythian cavaliers went out to 
seek their female antagonists with designs any 
thing hut belligerent. They advanced to the 
encampment of the Amazons, and hovered 
about for some time in their vicinity, without, 
however, making any warlike demonstrations. 
They had been instructed to show themselves 
as much as possible to the enemy, but by no 
means to fight them. They would, accordingly, 
draw as near to the Amazons as was safe, and 
linger there, gazing upon them, as if under the 
influence of some sort of fascination. If the 
Amazons advanced toward them, they would 
fall back, and if the advance continued, they 
would retreat fast enough to keep effectually 
out of the way. Then, when the Amazons 
turned, they would turn too, follow them back, 
and linger near them, around their encamp- 
ment, as before. 

The Amazonians were for a time puzzled 
with this strange demeanor, and they gradually 

B.C. 513.] Retreat from Scythia. 195 

Success of the cavaliers. Matrimonial alliances. 

learned to look upon the handsome horsemen 
at first without fear, and finally even without 
hostility. At length, one day, one of the young 
horsemen, observing an Amazon who had stray ^ 
ed away from the rest, followed and joined her„ 
She did not repel him. They were not able to 
converse together, as neither knew the lan- 
guage of the other. They established a friend- 
ly intercourse, however, by looks and signs, and 
after a time they separated, each agreeing to 
bring one of their companions to the place of 
rendezvous on the following day. 

A friendly intercommunication being thus 
commenced, the example spread very rapidly ; 
matrimonial alliances began to be formed, and, 
in a word, a short time only elapsed before the 
two camps were united and intermingled, the 
Scythians and the Amazons being all paired 
together in the most intimate relations of do- 
mestic life. Thus, true to the instincts of their 
sex, the rude and terrible maidens decided, 
when the alternative was fairly presented to 
them, in favor of husbands and homes, rather 
than continuing the life they had led, of inde- 
pendence, conflict, and plunder. It is curious 
to observe that the means by which they were 
won, namely, a persevering display of admira- 

196 Darius the Great. [B.C. 513. 

The Amazons rule their husbands. They establish a separate tribe. 

tion and attentions, steadily continued, but not 
too eagerly and impatiently pressed, and varied 
with an adroit and artful alternation of advanc- 
es and retreats, were precisely the same as 
those by which, in every age, the attempt is 
usually made to win the heart of woman from 
hatred and hostility to love. 

We speak of the Amazonians as having been 
won ; but they were, in fact, themselves the 
conquerors of their captors, after all ; for it ap- 
peared, in the end, that in the future plans and 
arrangements of the united body, they ruled 
their Scythian husbands, and not the Scythians 
them. The husbands wished to return home 
with their wives, whom, they said, they would 
protect and maintain in the midst of their coun- 
trymen in honor and in peace. The Amazons, 
however, were in favor of another plan. Their 
habits and manners were such, they said, that 
they should not be respected and beloved among 
any other people. They wished that their hus- 
bands, therefore, would go home and settle their 
affairs, and afterward return and join their 
wives again, and then that all together should 
move to the eastward, until they should find a 
suitable place to settle in by themselves. This 
plan was acceded to by the husbands, and was 

B.C. 513.] Retreat from Scythu. 197 

The Scythians send an embassy to the neighboring tribes. 

carried into execution ; and the result was the 
planting of a new nation, called the Sauroma- 
teans, who thenceforth took their place among 
the other barbarous tribes that dwelt upon the 
northern shores of the Euxine Sea. 

Such was the character of the tribes and na- 
tions that dwelt in the neighborhood of the 
Scythian country. As soon as Darius had 
passed the river, the Scythians sent embassa- 
dors to all their people, proposing to them to 
form a general alliance against the invader. 
" We ought to mako common cause against 
him," said they ; " for if he subdues one nation, 
it will only open the way for an attack upon 
the rest. Some of us are, it is true, more re- 
mote than others from the immediate danger, 
but it threatens us all equally in the end." 

The embassadors delivered their message, and 
some of the tribes acceded to the Scythian pro- 
posals. Others, however, refused. The quar- 
rel, they said, was a quarrel between Darius 
and the Scythians alone, and they were not in- 
clined to bring upon themselves the hostility of 
so powerful a sovereign by interfering. The 
Scythians were very indignant at this refusal ; 
but there was no remedy, and they accordingly 
began to prepare to defend themselves as well 

198 Darius the Great. [B.C. 513. 

Habits of the Scythians. Their mode of warfare. 

as they could, with the help of those nations 
that had expressed a willingness to join them. 

The habits of the Scythians were nomadic 
and wandering, and their country was one vast 
region of verdant and beautiful, and yet, in a 
great measure, of uncultivated and trackless 
wilds. They had few towns and villages, and 
those few were of little value. They adopted, 
therefore, the mode of warfare which, in such a 
country and for such a people, is always the 
wisest to be pursued. They retreated slowly 
before D^rius's advancing army, carrying off 
or destroying all such property as might aid the 
king in respect to his supplies. They organized 
and equipped a body of swift horsemen, who 
were ordered to hover around Darius's camp, 
and bring intelligence to the Scythian generals 
of every movement. These horsemen, too, were 
to harass the flanks and the rear of the army, 
and to capture or destroy every man whom they 
should find straying away from the camp. By 
this means they kept the invading army con- 
tinually on the alert, allowing them no peace 
and no repose, while yet they thwarted and 
counteracted all the plans and efforts which the 
enemy made to bring on a general battle. 

As the Persians advanced in pursuit of the 

B.C. 513.] Retreat from Scythia. 199 

Message to Indathyrsus. His reply. 

enemy, the Scythians retreated, and in this re- 
treat they directed their course toward the 
countries occupied by those nations that had 
refused to join in the alliance. By this artful 
management they transferred the calamity and 
the burden of the war to the territories of their 
neighbors. Darius soon found that he was ma- 
king no progress toward gaining his end. At 
length he concluded to try the effect of a di- 
rect and open challenge. 

He accordingly sent embassadors to the 
Scythian chief, whose name was Indathyrsus, 
with a message somewhat as follows : 

" Foolish man ! how long will you continue 
to act in this absurd and preposterous manner ? 
It is incumbent on you to make a decision in 
favor of one thing or the other. If you think 
that you are able to contend with me, stop, and 
let us engage. If not, then acknowledge me as 
your superior, and submit to my authority." 

The Scythian chief sent back the following 
reply : 

" We have no inducement to contend with 
you in open battle on the field, because you 
are not doing us any injury, nor is it at present 
in your power to do us any. We have no cit- 
ies and no cultivated fields that you can seize 

200 Darius the Great. [B.C. 513. 

The Scythian cavalry. Their attacks on the Persians. 

or plunder. Your roaming about our country, 
therefore, does us no harm, and you are at lib- 
erty to continue it as long as it gives you any 
pleasure. There is nothing on our soil that 
you can injure, except one spot, and that is the 
place where the sepulchres of our fathers lie. 
If you were to attack that spot — which you 
may perhaps do, if you can find it — you may 
rely upon a battle. In the mean time, you 
may go elsewhere, wherever you please. As 
to acknowledging your superiority, we shall do 
nothing of the kind. We defy you." 

Notwithstanding the refusal of the Scythians 
to give the Persians battle, they yet made, from 
time to time, partial and unexpected onsets 
upon their camp, seizing occasions when they 
hoped to find their enemies off their guard. 
The Scythians had troops of cavalry which 
were very efficient and successful in these at- 
tacks. These horsemen were, however, some- 
times thrown into confusion and driven back 
by a very singular means of defense. It seems 
that the Persians had brought with them from 
Europe, in their train, a great number of asses, 
as beasts of burden, to transport the tents and 
the baggage of the army. These asses were 
accustomed, in times of excitement and dan- 


Braying of the Persian asses Scythians sent to the bridge, 

ger, to set up a very terrific braying. It was, 
in fact, all that they could do Braying at a 
danger seems to be a very ridiculous mode of 
attempting to avert it, but it was a tolerably 
effectual mode, nevertheless, in this case at 
least ; for the Scythian horses, who would have 
faced spears and javelins, and the loudest shouts 
and vociferations of human adversaries without 
any fear, were appalled and put to flight at 
hearing the unearthly noises which issued from 
the Persian camp whenever they approached it. 
Thus the mighty monarch of the whole Asiatic 
world seemed to depend for protection against 
the onsets of these rude and savage troops on 
the braying of his asses ! 

While these things were going on in the in- 
terior of the country, the Scythians sent down 
a detachment of their forces to the banks of 
the Danube, to see if they could not, in some 
way or other, obtain possession of the bridge. 
They learned here what the orders were which 
Darius had given to the Ionians who had been 
left in charge, in respect to the time of their re- 
maining at their post. The Scythians told 
them that if they would govern themselves 
strictly by those orders, and so break up the 

202 Darius the Great. [B.C. 513. 

Agreement with the Ionians. The Scythians change their policy 

bridge and go down the river with their boats 
as soon as the two months should have ex- 
pired, they should not he molested in the mean 
time. The Ionians agreed to this. The time 
was then already nearly gone, and they prom- 
ised that, so soon as it should be fully expired, 
they would withdraw. 

The Scythian detachment sent back word to 
the main army acquainting them with these 
facts, and the army accordingly resolved on a 
change in their policy. Instead of harassing 
and distressing the Persians as they had done, 
to hasten their departure, they now determined 
to improve the situation of their enemies, and 
encourage them in their hopes, so as to protract 
their stay. They accordingly allowed the Per- 
sians to gain the advantage over them in small 
skirmishes, and they managed, also, to have 
droves of cattle fall into their hands, from time 
to time, so as to supply them with food. The 
Persians were quite elated with these indica- 
tions that the tide of fortune was about to turn 
in their favor. 

While things were in this state, there ap- 
peared one day at the Persian camp a messen- 
ger from the Scythians, who said that he had 
some presents from the Scythian chief for Da- 

B.C. 513.] Retreat from Scythia. 20^ 

The Scythians' strange presents. Various interpretations. 

riiis. The messenger was admitted, and allow- 
ed to deliver his gifts. The gifts proved to be 
a bird, a mouse, a frog, and five arrows. The 
Persians asked the bearer of these strange of- 
ferings what the Scythians meant by them. 
He replied that he had no explanations to give. 
His orders were, he said, to deliver the presents 
and then return ; and that they must, accord- 
ingly, find out the meaning intended by the ex- 
ercise of their own ingenuity. 

When the messenger had retired, Darius and 
the Persians consulted together, to determine 
what so strange a communication could mean. 
They could not, however, come to any satisfac- 
tory decision. Darius said that he thought the 
three animals might probably be intended to 
denote the three kingdoms of nature to which 
the said animals respectively belonged, viz., the 
earth, the air, and the water ; and as the giving 
up of weapons was a token of submission, the 
whole might mean that the Scythians were 
now ready to give up the contest, and acknowl- 
edge the right of the Persians to supreme and 
universal dominion. 

The officers, however, did not generally con- 
cur in this opinion. They saw no indications, 
they said, of any disposition on the part of the 

204 Darius the Great. [B.C.513. 

Opinions of the Persian officers. The Scythians draw up their forces, 

Scythians to surrender. They thought it quite 
as probable that the communieation was meant 
to announce to those who received it threats 
and defiance, as to express conciliation and sub- 
mission. " It may mean," said one of them, 
" that, unless you can fly like a bird into the 
air, or hide like a mouse in the ground, or bury 
yourselves, like the frog, in morasses and fens, 
you can not escape our arrows." 

There was no means of deciding positively 
between these contradictory interpretations, but 
it soon became evident that the former of the 
two was very far from being correct ; for, soon 
after the present was received, the Scythians 
were seen to be drawing up their forces in ar- 
ray, as if preparing for battle. The two months 
had expired, and they had reason to suppose 
that the party at the bridge had withdrawn, as 
they had promised to do. Darius had been so 
far weakened by his harassing marches, and 
the manifold privations and sufferings of his 
men, that he felt some solicitude in respect to 
the result of a battle, now that it seemed to be 
drawing near, although such a trial of strength 
had been the object which he had been, from 
the beginning, most eager to secure. 

The two armies were encamped at a moder- 

B.C. 513.] Re TRE AT FROM ScYTHIA. 205 
The armies prepare for battle. Hunting the hare. 

ate distance from each other, with a plain, part- 
ly wooded, between them. While in this po- 
sition, and before any hostile action was com- 
menced by either party, it was observed from 
the camp of Darius that suddenly a great tu- 
mult arose from the Scythian lines. Men were 
seen rushing in dense crowds this way and that 
over the plain, with shouts and outcries, which, 
however, had in them no expression of anger or 
fear, but rather one of gayety and pleasure. 
Darius demanded what the strange tumult 
meant. Some messengers were sent out to as- 
certain the cause, and on their return they re- 
ported that the Scythians were hunting a hare, 
which had suddenly made its appearance. The 
hare had issued from a thicket, and a consider- 
able portion of the army, officers and soldiers, 
had abandoned their ranks to enjoy the sport of 
pursuing it, and were running impetuously, 
here and there, across the plain, filling the air 
with shouts of hilarity. 

" They do indeed despise us," said Darius, 
" since, on the eve of a battle, they can lose all 
thoughts of us and of their danger, and abandon 
their posts to hunt a hare !" 

That evening a council of war was held. It 
was concluded that the Scythians must be very 

206 Darius the G-reat. [B.C. 513. 

The Persians resolve to retreat. Stratagem and secret flight. 

confident and strong in their position, and that, 
if a general battle were to be hazarded, it would 
be very doubtful what would be the result. 
The Persians concluded unanimously, there- 
fore, that the wisest plan would be for them to 
give up the intended conquest, and retire from 
the country. Darius accordingly proceeded to 
make his preparations for a secret retreat. 

He separated all the infirm and feeble por- 
tion of the army from the rest, and informed 
them that he was going that night on a short 
expedition with the main body of the troops, 
and that, while he was gone, they were to re- 
main and defend the camp. He ordered the 
men to build the camp fires, and to make them 
larger and more numerous than common, and 
then had the asses tied together in an unusual 
situation, so that they should keep up a continu- 
al braying. These sounds, heard all the night, 
and the light of the camp fires, were to lead the 
Scythians to believe that the whole body of the 
Persians remained, as usual, at the encamp- 
ment, and thus to prevent all suspicion of their 

Toward midnight, Darius marched forth in 
silence and secresy, with all the vigorous and 
able-bodied forces under his command, leaving 

B.C. 513.] Retreat fkom Scythia. 207 

Surrender of the camp. Difficulties of the retreat. 

the weary, the sick, and the infirm to the mer- 
cy of their enemies. The long column suc- 
ceeded in making good their retreat, without 
exciting the suspicions of the Scythians. They 
took the route which they supposed would con- 
duct them most directly to the river. 

When the troops which remained in the 
camp found, on the following morning, that 
they had heen deceived and abandoned, they 
made signals to the Scythians to come to them, 
and, when they came, the invalids surrendered 
themselves and the camp to their possession. 
The Scythians then, immediately, leaving a 
proper guard to defend the camp, set out to fol- 
low the Persian army. Instead, however, of 
keeping directly upon their track, they took a 
shorter course, which would lead them more 
speedily to the river. The Persians, being un- 
acquainted with the country, got involved in 
fens and morasses, and other difficulties of the 
way, and their progress was thus so much im- 
peded that the Scythians reached the river be- 
fore them. 

They found the Ionians still there, although 
the two months had fully expired. It is possi- 
ble that the chiefs had received secret orders 
from Darius not to hasten their departure, even 

208 Darius the Great. [B.C. 513. 

The bridge partially destroyed. Darius arrives at the Danube. 

after the knots had all been untied ; or perhaps 
they chose, of their own accord, to await their 
sovereign's return. The Scythians immediate- 
ly urged them to be gone. " The time has ex- 
pired," they said, " and you are no longer un- 
der any obligation to wait. Return to your 
own country, and assert your own independ- 
ence and freedom, which you can safely do if 
you leave Darius and his armies here." 

The Ionians consulted together on the sub- 
ject, doubtful, at first, what to do. They con- 
cluded that they would not comply with the 
Scythian proposals, while yet they determined 
to pretend to comply with them, in order to 
avoid the danger of being attacked. They ac- 
cordingly began to take the bridge to pieces, 
commencing on the Scythian side of the stream. 
The Scythians, seeing the work thus going on, 
left the ground, and marched back to meet the 
Persians. The armies, however, fortunately 
for Darius, missed each other, and the Persians 
arrived safely at the river, after the Scythians 
had left it. They arrived in the night, and the 
advanced guard, seeing no appearance of the 
bridge on the Scythian side, supposed that the 
Ionians had gone. They shouted long and loud 
on the shore, and at length an Egyptian, who 

B.C. 513.] Retreat prom Scythia. 209 

The bridge repaired. The army returns to Asia. 

was celebrated for the power of his voice, suc- 
ceeded in making the Ionians hear. The boats 
were immediately brought back to their posi- 
tions, the bridge was reconstructed, and Dari- 
us' s army recrossed the stream. 

The Danube being thus safely crossed, the 
army made the best of its way back through 
Thrace, and across the Bosporus into Asia, and 
thus ended Darius's great expedition against 
the Scythians. 

210 Darius the Great. [B.C. 504 

Histieeus at the bridge on the Danube. Darius's anxiety 

Chapter X. 

The Story of Histi^eus. 

r I ^HE nature of the government which was 
-■- exercised in ancient times by a royal despot 
like Darius, and the character of the measures 
and management to which he was accustomed 
to resort to gain his political ends, are, in many 
points, very strikingly illustrated by the story 
of Histiaeus. 

Histiseus was the Ionian chieftain who had 
been left in charge of the bridge of boats across 
the Danube when Darius made his incursion 
into Scythia. When, on the failure of the ex- 
pedition, Darius returned to the river, knowing, 
as he did, that the two months had expired, he 
naturally felt a considerable degree of solicitude 
lest he should find the bridge broken up and 
the vessels gone, in which case his situation 
would be very desperate, hemmed in, as he 
would have been, between the Scythians and 
the river. His anxiety was changed into ter- 
ror when his advanced guard arrived at the 
bank and found that no signs of the bridge were 

B.C. 504.] The Story of Histi^us. 211 

Darius's gratitude. Scythia abandoned. 

to be seen. It is easy to imagine what, under 
these circumstances, must have been the relief 
and joy of all the army, when they heard friend- 
ly answers to their shouts, coming, through the 
darkness of the night, over the waters of the 
river, assuring them that their faithful allies 
were still at their posts, and that they them- 
selves would soon be in safety. 

Darius, though he was governed by no firm 
and steady principles of justice, was still a man 
of many generous impulses. He was grateful 
for favors, though somewhat capricious in his 
modes of requiting them. He declared to His- 
tiaeus that he felt under infinite obligations to 
him for his persevering fidelity, and that, as soon 
as the army should have safely arrived in Asia, 
he would confer upon him such rewards as 
would evince the reality of his gratitude. 

On his return from Scythia, Darius brought 
back the whole of his army over the Danube, 
thus abandoning entirely the country of the 
Scythians ; but he did not transport the whole 
body across the Bosporus. He left a considera- 
ble detachment of troops, under the command 
of one of his generals, named Megabyzus, in 
Thrace, on the European side, ordering Mega- 
byzus to establish himself there, and to reduce 

212 Darius the Great. [B.C. 504. 

Darius sends for Histiaeus. Petition of Histiaeus. 

all the countries in that neighborhood to his 
sway. Darius then proceeded to Sardis, which 
was the most powerful and wealthy of his cap- 
itals in that quarter of the world. At Sardis, 
he was, as it were, at home again, .and he ac- 
cordingly took an early opportunity to send for 
Histiaeus, as well as some others who had ren- 
dered him special services in his late campaign, 
in order that he might agree with them in re- 
spect to their reward. He asked Histiaeus 
what favor he wished to receive. 

Histiaeus replied that he was satisfied, on the 
whole, with the position which he already en- 
joyed, which was that of king or governor of 
Miletus, an Ionian city, south of Sardis, and on 
the shores of the iEgean Sea. # He should he 
pleased, however, he said, if the king would as- 
sign him a certain small territory in Thrace, or, 
rather, on the borders between Thrace and 
Macedonia, near the mouth of the River Stry- 
mon. He wished to build a city there. The 
king immediately granted this request, which 
was obviously very moderate and reasonable. 
He did not, perhaps, consider that this territo- 
ry, being in Thrace, or in its immediate vi- 

* For these places, see the map at the commencement of 
the next chapter. 

B.C. 504.] The Story of Histiaeus. 213 

Histiaeus organizes a colony. The Paeonians. 

cinity, came within the jurisdiction of Megaby- 
zus, whom he had left in command there, and 
that the grant might lead to some conflict be- 
tween the two generals. There was special 
danger of jealousy and disagreement between 
them, for Megabyzus was a Persian, and Histi- 
aeus was a Greek. 

Histiaeus organized a colony, and, leaving a 
temporary and provisional government at Mile- 
tus, he proceeded along the shores of the iEge- 
an Sea to the spot assigned him, and began to 
build his city. As the locality was beyond the 
Thracian frontier, and at a considerable dis- 
tance from the head-quarters of Megabyzus, it 
is very probable that the operations of Histiaeus 
would not have attracted the Persian general's 
attention for a considerable time, had it not 
been for a very extraordinary and peculiar train 
of circumstances, which led him to discover 
them. The circumstanoes were these : 

There was a nation or tribe called the Paeo- 
nians, who inhabited the valley of the Strymon, 
which river came down from the interior of the 
country, and fell into the sea near the place 
where Histiaeus was building his city. Among 
the Paeonian chieftains there were two who 
wished to obtain the government of the coun- 

214 Darius the Great. [B.C. 504. 

Baseness of the Paeonian chiefs. Their stratagem. 

try, but they were not quite strong enough to 
effect their object. In order to weaken the 
force which was opposed to them, they conceiv- 
ed the base design of betraying their tribe to 
Darius, and inducing him to make them cap- 
tives. If their plan should succeed, a consider- 
able portion of the population would be taken 
away, and they could easily, they supposed, ob- 
tain ascendency over the rest. In order to call 
the attention of Darius to the subject, and in- 
duce him to act as they desired, they resorted 
to the following stratagem. Their object seems 
to have been to lead Darius to undertake a 
campaign against their countrymen, by show- 
ing him what excellent and valuable slaves they 
would make. 

These two chieftains were brothers, and they 
had a very beautiful sister ; her form was grace- 
ful and elegant, and her countenance lovely. 
They brought this sister with them to Sardis 
when Darius was there. They dressed and dec- 
orated her in a very careful manner, but yet in 
a style appropriate to the condition of a servant ; 
and then, one day, when the king was sitting in 
some public place in the city, as was customary 
with Oriental sovereigns, they sent her to pass 
along the street before him, equipped in such a 

B.C. 504.] The Story of Histi^us. 215 

The Paeonian maiden. Multiplicity of her avocations. 

manner as to show that she was engaged in 
servile occupations. She had a jar, such as 
Was then used for carrying water, poised upon 
her head, and she was leading a horse hy means 
of a bridle hung over her arm. Her hands, be- 
ing thus not required either for the horse or for 
the vessel, were employed in spinning, as she 
walked along, by means of a distaff and spindle. 

The attention of Darius was strongly attract- 
ed to the spectacle. The beauty of the maid- 
en, the novelty and strangeness of her costume, 
the multiplicity of her avocations, and the ease 
and grace with which she performed them, all 
conspired to awaken the monarch's curiosity. 
He directed one of his attendants to follow her 
and see where she should go. The attendant 
did so. The girl went to the river. She wa- 
tered her horse, filled her jar and placed it on 
her head, and then, hanging the bridle on her 
arm again, she returned through the same 
streets, and passed the king's palace as before, 
spinning as she walked along. 

The interest and curiosity of the king was 
excited more than ever by the reappearance of 
the girl and by the report of his messenger. 
He directed that she should be stopped and 
brought into his presence. She came ; and her 

216 Darius the Great. [B.C. 504 

Parius and the maiden. He determines to make the Paeonians slaves. 

brothers, who had been watching the whole 
scene from a convenient spot near at hand, 
joined her and came too. The king asked them 
who they were. They replied that they were 
Paeonians. He wished to know where they 
lived. " On the banks of the River Stry- ion," 
they replied, " near the confines of Thrace." 
He next asked whether all the women of their 
country were accustomed to labor, and were as 
ingenious, and dexterous, and beautiful as their 
sister. The brothers replied that they were. 

Darius immediately determined to make the 
whole people slaves. He accordingly dispatch- 
ed a courier with the orders. The courier cross- 
ed the Hellespont, and proceeded to the en- 
campment of Megabyzus in Thrace. He de- 
livered his dispatches to the Persian general, 
commanding him to proceed immediately to 
Paeonia, and there to take the whole commu- 
nity prisoners, and bring them to Darius in 
Sardis. Megabyzus, until this time, had known 
nothing of the people whom he was thus com- 
manded to seize. He, however, found some 
Thracian guides who undertook to conduct him 
to their territory ; and then, taking with him a 
sufficient force, he set out on the expedition. 
The Paeonians heard of his approach. Some 

B.C. 504.] The Story of Histiaeus. 217 

Capture of the Pasonians. Megabyzus discovers Histiseus's city. 

prepared to defend themselves ; others fled to 
the mountains. The fugitives escaped, but 
those who attempted to resist were taken. 
Megabyzus collected the unfortunate captives, 
together with their wives and children, and 
brought them down to the coast to embark them 
for tSardis. In doing this, he had occasion to 
pass by the spot where Histiaeus was building 
his city, and it was then, for the first time, that 
Megabyzus became acquainted with the plan. 
Histiaeus was building a wall to defend his lit- 
tle territory on the side of the land. Ships and 
galleys were going and coming on the side of 
the sea. Every thing indicated that the work 
was rapidly and prosperously advancing. 

Megabyzus did not interfere with the work ; 
but, as soon as he arrived at Sardis with his 
captives, and had delivered them to the king, 
he introduced the subject of Histiaeus's city, 
and represented to Darius that it would be dan- 
gerous to the Persian interests to allow such an 
enterprise to go on. " He will establish a strong 
post there," said Megabyzus, " by means of 
which he will exercise a great ascendency over 
all the neighboring seas. The place is admi- 
rably situated for a naval station, as the coun- 
try in the vicinity abounds with all the mate- 

218 Darius the Great. [B.C. 504. 

Histiseus sent for. Darius revokes his gift. 

rials for building and equipping ships. There 
are also mines of silver in the mountains near, 
from which he will obtain a great supply of 
treasure. By these means he will become so 
strong in a short period of time, that, after you 
have returned to Asia, he will revolt from your 
authority, carrying with him, perhaps, in his 
rebellion, all the Greeks of Asia Minor." 

The king said that he was sorry that he had 
made the grant, and that he would revoke it 
without delay. 

Megabyzus recommended that the king should 
not do this in an open or violent manner, but 
that he should contrive some way to arrest the 
progress of the undertaking without any appear- 
ance of suspicion or displeasure. 

Darius accordingly sent for Histiseus to come 
to him at Sardis, saying that there was a serv- 
ice of great importance on which he wished to 
employ him. Histiseus, of course, obeyed such 
a summons with eager alacrity. When he ar- 
rived, Darius expressed great pleasure at seeing 
him once more, and said that he had constant 
need of his presence and his counsels. He val- 
ued, above all price, the services of so faithful 
a friend, and so sagacious and trusty an advis- 
er. He was now, he said, going to Susa, and 

B.C. 504.] The Story of Histi^us. 219 

Histiseus goes to Susa. Artaphernea. 

he wished Histiaeus to accompany him as his 
privy counselor and confidential friend. It 
would be necessary, Darius added, that he 
should give up his government of Miletus, and 
also the city in Thrace which he had begun to 
build ; but he should be exalted to higher hon- 
ors and dignities at Susa in their stead. He 
should have apartments in the king's palace, 
and live in great luxury and splendor. 

Histiaeus was extremely disappointed and 
chagrined at this announcement. He was oblig- 
ed, however, to conceal his vexation and submit 
to his fate. In a few days after this, he set 
out, with the rest of Darius's court, for the Per- 
sian capital, leaving a nephew, whose name was 
Aristagoras, as governor of Miletus in his stead 
Darius, on the other hand, committed the gen- 
eral charge of the whole coast of Asia Minor to 
Artaphernes, one of his generals. Artaphernes 
was to make Sardis his capital. He had not 
only the general command of all the provinces 
extending along the shore, but also of all the 
ships, and galleys, and other naval armaments 
which belonged to Darius on the neighboring 
seas. Aristagoras, as governor of Miletus, was 
under his general jurisdiction. The two offi- 
cers were, moreover, excellent friends. Aris- 

220 Darius the Great. [B.C. 504. 

Island of Naxos. Civil war there. 

tagoras was, of course, a Greek, and Artapher- 
nes a Persian. 

Among the Greek islands situated in the 
iEgean Sea, one of the most wealthy, import- 
ant, and powerful at that time, was Naxos. It 
was situated in the southern part of the sea, 
and about midway between the shores of Asia 
Minor and Greece. It happened that, soon after 
Darius had returned from Asia Minor to Persia, 
a civil war broke out in that island, in which 
the common people were on one side and the 
nobles on the other. The nobles were overcome 
in the contest, and fled from the island. A 
party of them landed at Miletus, and called 
upon Aristagoras to aid them in regaining pos- 
session of the island. 

Aristagoras replied that he would very glad- 
ly do it if he had the power, but that the Per- 
sian forces on the whole coast, both naval and 
military, were under the command of Artapher- 
nes at Sardis. He said, however, that he was 
on very friendly terms with Artaphernes, and 
that he would, if the Naxians desired it, apply 
to him for his aid. The Naxians seemed very 
grateful for the interest which Aristagoras took 
in their cause, and said that they would com- 
mit the whole affair to his charge. 

B.C. 504.] The Story of Histi^us. 221 

Action of Aristagoras. Co-operation of Artaphernes. 

There was, however, much less occasion for 
gratitude than there seemed, for Aristagoras 
was very far from being honest and sincere in 
his offers of aid. He perceived, immediately on 
hearing the fugitives' story, that a very favor- 
able opportunity was opening for him to add 
Naxos, and perhaps even the neighboring isl- 
ands, to his own government. It is always a 
favorable opportunity to subjugate a people 
when their power of defense and of resistance 
is neutralized by dissensions with one another. 
It is a device as old as the history of mankind, 
and one resorted to now as often as ever, for 
ambitious neighbors to interpose in behalf of the 
weaker party, in a civil war waged in a coun- 
try which they wish to make their own, and, 
beginning with a war against a part, to end by 
subjugating the whole. This was Aristago- 
ras's plan. He proposed it to Artaphernes, rep- 
resenting to him that a very favorable occasion 
had occurred for bringing the Greek islands of 
the JEgeem Sea under the Persian dominion. 
Naxos once possessed, all the other islands 
around it would follow, he said, and a hundred 
ships would make the conquest sure. 

Artaphernes entered very readily and very 
warmly into the plan. He said that he would 

222 Darius the Great. [B.C. 504. 

Darius consulted. His approval. Preparations. 

furnish two hundred instead of one hundred 
galleys. He thought it was necessary, how- 
ever, first to consult Darius, since the affair 
was one of such importance ; and hesides, it 
was not best to commence the undertaking un- 
til the spring. He would immediately send a 
messenger to Darius to ascertain his pleasure, 
and, in the mean time, as he did not doubt that 
Darius would fully approve of the plan, he 
would have all necessary preparations made, so 
that every thing should be in readiness as soon 
as the proper season for active operations should 

Artaphernes was right in anticipating his 
brother's approval of the design. The messen- 
ger returned from Susa with full authority 
from the king for the execution of the project. 
The ships were built and equipped, and every 
thing was made ready for the expedition. The 
intended destination of the armament was, how- 
ever, kept a profound secret, as the invaders 
wished to surprise the people of Naxos when 
off their guard. Aristagoras was to accompany 
the expedition as its general leader, while an 
officer named Megabates, appointed by Arta- 
phernes for this purpose, was to take command 
of the fleet as a sort of admiral. Thus there 

B.C.504.] The Story of Histi^us. 223 

Sailing of the expedition. Plan of the commander. 

were two commanders — an arrangement which 
almost always, in such cases, leads to a quar- 
rel. It is a maxim in war that one bad general 
is better than two good ones. 

The expedition sailed from Miletus ; and, in 
order to prevent the people of Naxos from being 
apprised of their danger, the report had been cir- 
culated that its destination was to be the Helles- 
pont. Accordingly, when the fleet sailed, it 
turned its course to the northward, as if it were 
really going to the Hellespont. The plan of the 
commander was to stop after proceeding a short 
distance, and then to seize the first opportuni- 
ty afforded by a wind from the north to come 
down suddenly upon Naxos, before the popula- 
tion should have time to prepare for defense. 
Accordingly, when they arrived opposite the 
island of Chios, the whole fleet came to anchor 
near the land. The ships were all ordered to 
be ready, at a moment's warning, for setting 
sail ; and, thus situated, the commanders were 
waiting for the wind to change. 

Megabates. in going his rounds among the 

O 1 CJ O CJ 

fleet while things were in this condition, found 
one vessel entirely abandoned. The captain 
and crew had all left it, and had gone ashore. 
They were not aware, probably, how urgent 

224 Darius the Great. [B.C. 504 

Difficulty in the fleet. Cruel discipline. 

was the necessity that they should be every 
moment at their posts. The captain of this 
galley was a native of a small town called Cny- 
dus, and, as it happened, was a particular friend 
of Aristagoras. His name was Syclax. Meg' 
abates, as the commander of the fleet, was ven 
much incensed at finding one of his subordinate 
officers so derelict in duty. He sent his guard* 
in pursuit of him ; and when Syclax was brought 
to his ship, Megabates ordered his head to b6 
thrust out through one of the small port-holer 
intended for the oars, in the side of the ship, 
and then bound him in that position — his head 
appearing thus to view, in the sight of all the 
fleet, while his body remained within the ves' 
sel. " I am going to keep him at his post/ 
said Megabates, " and in such a way that ev- 
ery one can see that he is there." 

Aristagoras was much distressed at seeing 
his friend suffering so severe and disgraceful a 
punishment. He went to Megabates and re 
quested the release of the prisoner, giving, at 
the same time, what he considered satisfactory 
reasons for his having been absent from his ves' 
sel. Megabates, however, was not satisfied, 
and refused to set Syclax at liberty. Aristag- 
oras then told Megabates that he mistook his 

B.C. 504.] The Story of Histi^eus. 225 

Dissension between the commanders. The expedition fails. 

position in supposing that he was master of the 
expedition, and could tyrannize over the men in 
that manner, as he pleased. " I will have you 
understand," said he, " that I am the command- 
er in this campaign, and that Artaphernes, in 
making you the sailing-master of the fleet, had 
no intention that you should set up your au- 
thority over mine." So saying, he went away 
in a rage, and released Syclax from his durance 
with his own hands. 

It was now the turn of Megahates to he en- 
raged. He determined to defeat the expedition. 
He sent immediately a secret messenger to 
warn the Naxians of their enemies' approach. 
The Naxians immediately made effectual prep- 
arations to defend themselves. The end of it 
was, that when the fleet arrived, the island was 
prepared to receive it, and nothing could he 
done. Aristagoras continued the siege four 
months ; hut inasmuch as, during all this time, 
Megahates did every thing in his power to cir- 
cumvent and thwart every plan that Aristago- 
ras formed, nothing was accomplished. Final- 
ly, the expedition was broken up, and Aristago- 
ras returned home, disappointed and chagrined, 
all his hopes blasted, and his own private finan- 
ces thrown into confusion by the great pecuniary 

226 Darius the Great. [B.C. 504 

Chagrin of Aristagoras. He resolves to revoll 

losses which he himself had sustained. He had 
contributed very largely, from his own private 
funds, in fitting out the expedition, fully confi- 
dent of success, and of ample reimbursement 
for his expenses as the consequence of it. 

He was angry with himself, and angry with 
Megabates, and angry with Artaphernes. He 
presumed, too, that Megabates would denounce 
him to Artaphernes, and, through him, to Dari' 
us, as the cause of the failure of the expedition. 
A sudden order might come at any moment, 
directing that he should be beheaded. He be- 
gan to consider the expediency of revolting from 
the Persian power, and making common cause 
with the Greeks against Darius. The danger 
of such a step was scarcely less than that of re- 
maining as he was. While he was pondering 
these momentous questions in his mind, he was 
led suddenly to a decision by a very singular 
circumstance, the proper explaining of which 
requires the story to return, for a time, to His- 
tineus at Susa. 

Histiseus was very ill at ease in the posses- 
sion of his forced elevation and grandeur at 
Susa. He enjoyed great distinction there, it is 
true, and a life of ease and luxury, but he wish- 
ed for independence and authority. He was, 

B.C. 504.] The Story of Histijsus. 227 

Position of HistiiEus. His uneasiness. 

accordingly, very desirous to get back to his 
former sphere of activity and power in Asia 
Minor. After revolving in his mind the various 
plans which occurred to him for accomplishing 
this purpose, he at last decided on inducing Ar- 
istagdras to revolt in Ionia, and then attempt- 
ing to persuade Darius to send him on to quell 
the revolt. When once in Asia Minor, he would 
join the rebellion, and bid Darius defiance. 

The first thing to be done was to contrive 
some safe and secret way to communicate with 
Aristagoras. This he effected in the following 
manner: There was a man in his court who 
was afflicted with some malady of the eyes. 
Histiseus told him that if he would put himself 
under his charge he could effect a cure. It 
would be necessary, he said, that the man should 
have his head shaved and scarified ; that is, 
punctured with a sharp instrument, previously 
dipped in some medicinal compound. Then, 
after some further applications should have been 
made, it would be necessary for the patient to 
go to Ionia, in Asia Minor, where there was a 
physician who would complete the cure. 

The patient consented to this proposal. The 
head was shaved, and Histiaeus, while pretend- 
ing to scarify it, pricked into the skin — as sail- 

228 Darius the Great. [B.C. 504 

Singular mode of communication. Its success. 

ors tattoo anchors on their arms — by means of a 
needle and a species of ink which had proba- 
bly no great medicinal virtue, the words of a 
letter to Aristagoras, in which he communica- 
ted to him fully, though very concisely, the 
particulars of his plan. He urged Aristagoras 
to revolt, and promised that, if he would do so, 
he would come on, himself, as soon as possible, 
and, under pretense of marching to suppress the 
rebellion, he would really join and aid it. 

As soon as he had finished pricking this trea- 
sonable communication into the patient's skin, 
he carefully enveloped the head in bandages, 
which, he said, must on no account be disturb- 
ed. He kept the man shut up, besides, in the 
palace, until the hair had grown, so as effect- 
ually to conceal the writing, and then sent him 
to Ionia to have the cure perfected. On his ar- 
rival at Ionia he was to find Aristagoras, who 
would do 1 what further was necessary. Histi- 
8bus contrived, in the mean time, to send word 
to Aristagoras by another messenger, that, as 
soon as such a patient should present himself, 
Aristagoras was to shave his head. He did so, 
and the communication appeared. We must 
suppose that the operations on the part of Aris- 
tagoras for the purpose of completing the cure 

B.C. 504.] The Story of Histijeus. 229 

Revolt of Aristagoras. Feigned indignation of Histiseus. 

consisted, probably, in pricking in more ink, so 
as to confuse and obliterate the writing. 

Aristagoras was on the eve of throwing off 
the Persian authority when he received this 
communication. It at once decided him to pro- 
ceed. He organized his forces and commenced 
his revolt. As soon as the news of this rebellion 
reached Susa, Histiseus feigned great indigna- 
tion, and earnestly entreated Darius to commis- 
sion him to go and suppress it. He was confi- 
dent, he said, that he could do it in a very prompt 
and effectual manner. Darius was at first in- 
clined to suspect that Histiseus was in some 
way or other implicated in the movement ; but 
these suspicions were removed by the protesta- 
tions which Histiseus made, and at length he 
gave him leave to proceed to Miletus, command- 
ing him, however, to return to Susa again as 
soon as he should have suppressed the revolt. 

When Histiseus arrived in Ionia he joined 
Aristagoras, and the two generals, leaguing 
with them various princes and states of Greece, 
organized a very extended and dangerous rebel- 
lion, which it gave the troops of Darius infinite 
trouble to subdue. We can not here give an 
account of the incidents and particulars of this 
war. For a time the rebels prospered, and 

230 Darius the Great. [B.C. 504. 

The Ionian rebellion. Its failure. Death of Histiaeus. 

their cause seemed likely to succeed ; but at 
length the tide turned against them. Their 
towns were captured, their ships were taken 
and destroyed, their armies cut to pieces, His- 
tiaeus retreated from place to place, a wretched 
fugitive, growing more and more distressed and 
destitute every day. . At length, as he was fly- 
ing from a battle field, he arrested the arm of 
a Persian, who was pursuing him with his 
weapon upraised, by crying out that he was 
Histiaeus the Milesian. The Persian, hearing 
this, spared his life, but took him prisoner, and 
delivered him to Artaphernes. Histiaeus beg- 
ged very earnestly that Artaphernes would send 
him to Darius alive, in hopes that Darius would 
pardon him in consideration of his former serv- 
ices at the bridge of the Danube. This was, 
however, exactly what Artaphernes wished to 
prevent ; so he crucified the wretched Histiaeus 
at Sardis, and then packed his head in salt and 
sent it to Darius. 

B.C. 512.] Invasion of Greece. 233 

Great battles. Progress of the Persian empire. 

Chapter XL 

The Invasion of Greece and the 
Battle of Marathon. 

IN the history of a great military conquer- 
or, there seems to be often some one great 
battle which in importance and renown eclips- 
es all the rest. In the case of Hannibal it was 
the battle of Cannae, in that of Alexander the 
battle of Arbela. Caesar's great conflict was at 
Pharsalia, Napoleon's at Waterloo. Marathon 
was, in some respects, Darius's Waterloo. The 
place is a beautiful plain, about twelve miles 
north of the great city of Athens. The battle 
was the great final contest between Darius and 
the Greeks, which, both on account of the aw- 
ful magnitude of the conflict, and the very ex- 
traordinary circumstances which attended it, 
has always been greatly celebrated among man- 

The whole progress of the Persian empire, 
from the time of the first accession of Cyrus to 
the throne, was toward the westward, till it 
reached the confines of Asia on the shores of 
the iEgean Sea. All the shores and islands of 

234 Darius the Great. [B.C. 512. 

Condition of the Persian empire. Plans of Darius 

this sea were occupied by the states and the 
cities of Greece. The population of the whole 
region, both on the European and Asiatic shores, 
spoke the same language, and possessed the 
same vigorous, intellectual, and elevated char- 
acter. Those on the Asiatic side had been con- 
quered by Cyrus, and their countries had been 
annexed to the Persian empire. Darius had 
wished very strongly, at the commencement of 
his reign, to go on in this work of annexation, 
and had sent his party of commissioners to ex- 
plore the ground, as is related in a preceding 
chapter. He had, however, postponed the ex- 
ecution of his plans, in order first to conquer 
the Scythian countries north of Greece, think- 
ing, probably, that this would make the sub- 
sequent conquest of Greece itself more easy. 
By getting a firm foothold in Scythia, he would, 
as it were, turn the flank of the Grecian terri- 
tories, which would tend to make his final de- 
scent upon them more effectual and sure. 

This plan, however, failed ; and yet, on his 
retreat from Scythia, Darius did not withdraw 
his armies wholly from the European side of 
the water. He kept a large force in Thrace, 
and his generals there were gradually extend- 
ing and strengthening their power, and prepar- 

B.C. 512.] Invasion of Greece. 235 

Persian power in Thrace. Attempted negotiation with Macedon. 

ing for still greater conquests. They attempt- 
ed to extend their dominion, sometimes by ne- 
gotiations, and sometimes by force, and they 
were successful and unsuccessful by turns, 
whichever mode they employed. 

One very extraordinary story is told of an at- 
tempted negotiation wdth Macedon, made with 
a view of bringing that kingdom, if possible, 
under the Persian dominion, without the neces- 
sity of a resort to force. The commanding gen- 
eral of Darius's armies in Thrace, whose name, 
as was stated in the last chapter, was Megaby- 
zus, sent seven Persian officers into Macedon, 
not exactly to summon the Macedonians, in a 
peremptory manner, to surrender to the Per- 
sians, nor, on the other hand, to propose a vol- 
untary alliance, but for something between the 
two. The communication was to be in the 
form of a proposal, and yet it was to be made 
in the domineering and overbearing manner 
with which the tyrannical and the strong often 
make proposals to the weak and defenseless. 

The seven Persians went to Macedon, which, 
as will be seen from the map, was west of 
Thrace, and to the northward of the other Gre- 
cian countries. Amyntas, the king of Mace- 
don, gave them a very honorable reception. At 

236 Darius the Great. [B.C. 512. 

The seven commissioners. Their rudeness at the feast 

length, one day, at a feast to which they were 
invited in the palace of Amyntas, they became 
somewhat excited with wine, and asked to have 
the ladies of the court brought into the apart- 
ment. They wished " to see them," they said. 
Amyntas replied that such a procedure was 
entirely contrary to the usages and customs of 
their court ; but still, as he stood somewhat in 
awe of his visitors, or, rather, of the terrible pow- 
er which the delegation represented, and wish- 
ed by every possible means to avoid provoking 
a quarrel with them, he consented to comply 
with their request. The ladies were sent for. 
They came in, reluctant and blushing, their 
minds excited by mingled feelings of indigna- 
tion and shame. 

The Persians, becoming more and more ex- 
cited and imperious under the increasing influ- 
ence of the wine, soon began to praise the beau- 
ty of these' new guests in a coarse and free 
manner, which overwhelmed the ladies with 
confusion, and then to accost them familiarly 
and rudely, and to behave toward them, in oth- 
er respects, with so much impropriety as to 
produce great alarm and indignation among all 
the king's household. The king himself was 
much distressed, but he was afraid to act de- 

B.C. 512.] Invasion of Greece. 237 

Stratagem of Amyntas's son. The commissioners lulled. 

cidedly . His son, a young man of great energy 
and spirit, approached his father with a counte- 
nance and manner expressive of high excite- 
ment, and begged him to retire from the feast, 
and leave him, the son, to manage the affair. 
Amyntas reluctantly allowed himself to be per- 
suaded to go, giving his son many charges, as 
he went away, to do nothing rashly or violent- 
ly. As soon as the king was gone, the prince 
made an excuse for having the ladies retire for 
a short time, saying that they should soon re- 
turn. The prince conducted them to their 
apartment, and then selecting an equal number 
of tall and smooth-faced boys, he disguised them 
to represent the ladies, and gave each one a 
dagger, directing him to conceal it beneath his 
robe. These counterfeit females were then in- 
troduced to the assembly in the place of those 
who had retired. The Persians did not detect 
the deception. It was evening, and, besides, 
their faculties were confused with the effects of 
the wine. They approached the supposed la- 
dies as they had done before, with rude famili- 
arity ; and the boys, at a signal made by the 
prince when the Persians were wholly off their 
guard, stabbed and killed every one of them on 
the spot. 

238 Darius the Great. [B.C. 512. 

Artifice of the prince. Darius's anger against the Athenians 

Megabyzus sent an embassador to inquire 
what became of his seven messengers ; but 
the Macedonian prince contrived to buy this 
messenger off by large rewards, and to induce 
him to send back some false but plausible sto- 
ry to satisfy Megabyzus. Perhaps Megabyzus 
would not have been so easily satisfied had it 
not been that the great Ionian rebellion, un- 
der Aristagoras and Histiaeus, as described in 
the last chapter, broke out soon after, and de- 
manded his attention m another quarter of the 

The Ionian rebellion postponed, for a time, 
Darius's designs on Greece, but the effect of it 
was to make the invasion more certain and 
more terrible in the end ; for Athens, which was 
at that time one of the most important and pow- 
erful of the Grecian cities, took a part in that 
rebellion against the Persians. The Athenians 
sent forces to aid those of Aristagoras and His- 
tiaeus, and, in the course of the war, the com- 
bined army took and burned the city of Sardis. 
When this news reached Darius, he was ex- 
cited to a perfect phrensy of resentment and 
indignation against the Athenians for coming 
thus into his own dominions to assist rebels, 
and there destroying one of his most important 

B.C. 512.] Invasion of Greece. 239 

Civil dissensions in Greece. The tyrants. 

capitals. He uttered the most violent and ter- 
rible threats against them, and, to prevent his 
anger from getting cool before the preparations 
should be completed for vindicating it, he made 
an arrangement, it was said, for having a slave 
call out to him every day at table, " Remem- 
ber the Athenians !" 

It was a circumstance favorable to Darius's 
designs against the states of Greece that they 
were not united among themselves. There was 
no general government under which the whole 
naval and military force of that country could 
be efficiently combined, so as to be directed, in 
a concentrated and energetic form, against a 
common enemy. On the other hand, the sev- 
eral cities formed, with the territories adjoining 
them, so many separate states, more or less 
connected, it is true, by confederations and al- 
liances, but still virtually independent, and oft- 
en hostile to each other. Then, besides these 
external and international quarrels, there was 
a great deal of internal dissension. The mo- 
narchical and the democratic principle were all 
the time struggling for the mastery. Military 
despots were continually rising to power in the 
various cities, and after they had ruled, for a 
time, over their subjects with a rod of iron, the 

240 Darius the Great. [B.C. 512. 

Periander. His message to a neighboring potentate. 

people would rise in rebellion and expel them 
from their thrones. These revolutions were 
continually taking place, attended, often, by the 
strangest and most romantic incidents, which 
evinced, on the part of the actors in them, 
that extraordinary combination of mental sa- 
gacity and acumen with childish and senseless 
superstition so characteristic of the times. 

It is not surprising that the populace often 
rebelled against the power of these royal des- 
pots, for they seem to have exercised their pow- 
er, when their interests or their passions excited 
them to do it, in the most tyrannical and cruei 
manner. One of them, it was said, a king of 
Corinth, whose name was Periander, sent a 
messenger, on one occasion, to a neighboring 
potentate — with whom he had gradually come 
to entertain very friendly relations — to inquire 
by what means he could most certainly and 
permanently secure the continuance of his pow- 
er. The king thus applied to gave no direct 
reply, but took the messenger out into his gar- 
den, talking with him by the way about the 
incidents of his journey, and other indifferent 
topics. He came, at length, to a field where 
grain was growing, and as he walked along, he 
occupied himself in cutting off, with his sword, 

B.C. 512.] Invasion of Greece. 241 

Periander's intolerable tyranny. His wife Melissa. 

every head of the grain which raised itself above 
the level of the rest. After a short time he 
returned to the house, and finally dismissed the 
messenger without giving him any answer 
whatever to the application that he had made. 
The messenger returned to Periander, and re- 
lated what had occurred. " I understand his 
meaning," said Periander. " I must contrive 
some way to remove all those who, by their tal- 
ents, their influence, or their power, rise above 
the general level of the citizens." Periander 
began immediately to act on this recommenda- 
tion. Whoever, among the people of Corinth, 
distinguished himself above the rest, was mark- 
ed for destruction. Some were banished, some 
were slain, and some were deprived of their in- 
fluence, and so reduced to the ordinary level, by 
the confiscation of their property, the lives and 
fortunes of all the citizens of the state bein«r 
wholly in the despot's hands. A 

This same Periander had a wife whose name 
was Melissa. A very extraordinary tale is re- 
lated respecting her, which, though mainly fic- 
titious, had a foundation, doubtless, in fact, and 
illustrates very remarkably the despotic tyran- 
ny and the dark superstition of the times. Me- 
lissa died and was buried ; but her garments, 


242 Darius the Great. [B.C. 512. 

The ghost of Melissa. A great sacrifice. 

for some reason or other, were not burned, as 
was usual in such cases. Now, among the oth- 
er oracles of Greece, there was one where de- 
parted spirits could be consulted. It was called 
the oracle of the dead. Periander, having oc- 
casion to consult an oracle in order to find the 
means of recovering a certain article of value 
which was lost, sent to this place to call up and 
consult the ghost of Melissa. The ghost ap- 
peared, but refused to answer the question put 
to her, saying, with frightful solemnity, 

" I am cold ; I am cold ; I am naked and 
cold. My clothes were not burned ; I am naked 
and cold." 

When this answer was reported to Perian- 
der, he determined to make a great sacrifice 
and offering, such as should at once appease the 
restless spirit. He invited, therefore, a general 
assembly of the women of Corinth to witness 
some spectacle in a temple, and when they were 
convened, he surrounded them with his guards, 
seized them, stripped them of most of their 
clothing, and then let them go free. The clothes 
thus taken were then all solemnly burned, as 
an expiatory offering, with invocations to the 
shade of Melissa. 

The account adds, that when this was done, 

B.C. 512.] Invasion of G-reece. 243 

The reason of Periander's rudeness to the assembly of females. 

a second messenger was dispatched to the ora- 
cle of the dead, and the spirit, now clothed and 
comfortable in its grave, answered the inquiry, 
informing Periander where the lost article might 
be found. 

The rude violence which Periander resorted 
to in this case seems not to have been dictated 
by any particular desire to insult or injure the 
women of Corinth, but was resorted to simply 
as the easiest and most convenient way of ob- 
taining what he needed. He wanted a supply 
of valuable and costly female apparel, and the 
readiest mode of obtaining it was to bring to- 
gether an assembly of females dressed for a pub- 
lic occasion, and then disrobe them. The case 
only shows to what an extreme and absolute 
supremacy the lofty and domineering spirit of 
ancient despotism attained. 

It ought, however, to be related, in justice to 
these abominable tyrants, that they often evinc- 
ed feelings of commiseration and kindness; 
sometimes, in fact, in very singular ways. 
There was, for example, in one of the cities, a 
certain family that had obtained the ascenden- 
cy over the rest of the people, and had held it 
for some time as an established aristocracy, 
taking care to preserve their rank and power 

244 Darius the Great. [B.C.512. 

Labda the cripple. Prediction in respect to her progeny. 

from generation to generation, by intermarry- 
ing only with one another. At length, in one 
branch of the family, there grew up a young 
girl named Labda, who had been a cripple from 
her birth, and, on account of her deformity, none 
of the nobles would marry her. A man of ob- 
scure birth, however, one of the common peo- 
ple, at length took her for his wife. His name 
was Eetion. One day, Eetion went to Delphi 
to consult an oracle, and as he was entering the 
temple, the Pythian* called out to him, saying 
that a stone should proceed from Labda which 
should overwhelm tyrants and usurpers, and 
free the state. The nobles, when they heard 
of this, understood the prediction to mean that 
the destruction of their power was, in some 
way or other, to be effected by means of Lab- 
da's child, and they determined to prevent the 
fulfillment of the prophecy by destroying the 
babe itself so soon as it should be born. 

They accordingly appointed ten of their num- 
ber to go to- the place where Eetion lived and 
kill the child. The method which they were 
to adopt was this : They were to ask to see the 
infant on their arrival at the house, and then it 

* For a full account of these oracles, see the history of Cy 
rus the Great. 

B.C. 512.] Invasion of Greece. 245 

Conspiracy to destroy Labda's child. Its failure. 

was agreed that whichever of the ten it was to 
whom the babe was handed, he should dash it 
down upon the stone floor with all his force, by 
which means it would, as they supposed, cer- 
tainly be killed. 

This plan being arranged, the men went to 
the house, inquired, with hypocritical civility, 
after the health of the mother, and desired to 
see the child. It was accordingly brought to 
them. The mother put it into the hands of one 
of the conspirators, and the babe looked up into 
his face and smiled. This mute expression of 
defenseless and confiding innocence touched the 
murderer's heart. He could not be such a mon- 
ster as to dash such an image of trusting and 
happy helplessness upon the stones. He looked 
upon the child, and then gave it into the hands 
of the one next to him, and he gave it to the 
next, and thus it passed through the hands of 
all the ten. No one was found stern and de- 
termined enough to murder it, and at last they 
gave the babe back to its mother and went 

The sequel of this story was, that the con- 
spirators, when they reached the gate, stopped 
to consult together, and after many mutual 
criminations and recriminations, each impugn- 

246 Darius the Great. [B.C. 512. 

The child secreted. Fulfillment of the oracle. 

ing the courage and resolution of the rest, and 
all joining in special condemnation of the man 
to whom the child had at first been given, they 
went back again, determined, in some way or 
other, to accomplish their purpose. But Labda 
had, in the mean time, been alarmed at their 
extraordinary behavior, and had listened, when 
they stopped at the gate, to hear their conver- 
sation. She hastily hid the babe in a corn 
measure ; and the conspirators, after looking in 
every part of the house in vain, gave up the 
search, supposing that their intended victim had 
been hastily sent away. They went home, and 
not being willing to acknowledge that their res- 
olution had failed at the time of trial, they 
agreed to say that their undertaking had suc- 
ceeded, and that the child had been destroyed. 
The babe lived, however, and grew up to man- 
hood, and then, in fulfillment of the prediction 
announced by the oracle, he headed a rebellion 
against the nobles, deposed them from their 
power, and reigned in their stead. 

One of the worst and most reckless of the 
Greek tyrants of whom we have been speaking 
was Hippias of Athens. His father, Pisistra- 
tus, had been hated all his life for his cruelties 
and his crimes ; and when he died, leaving two 

B.O. 512.] Invasion of Greece. 247 

Hippias of Athens. His barbarous cruelty 

sons, Hippias and Hipparchus, a conspiracy 
was formed to kill the sons, and thus put an 
end to the dynasty. Hipparchus was killed, 
but Hippias escaped the danger, and seized the 
government himself alone. He began to exer- 
cise his power in the most cruel and wanton 
manner, partly under the influence of resent- 
ment and passion, and partly because he thought 
his proper policy was to strike terror into the 
hearts of the people as a means of retaining his 
dominion. One of the conspirators by whom his 
brother had been slain, accused Hippias's warm- 
est and best friends as his accomplices in tha + 
deed, in order to revenge himself on Hippias by 
inducing him to destroy his own adherents and 
supporters. Hippias fell into the snare ; he 
condemned to death all whom the conspirator 
accused, and his reckless soldiers executed his 
friends and foes together. When any protest- 
ed their innocence, he put them to the torture 
to make them confess their guilt. Such indis- 
criminate cruelty only had the effect to league 
the whole population of Athens against the per- 
petrator of it. There was at length a general 
insurrection against him, and he was dethroned. 
He made his escape to Sardis, and there ten- 
dered his services to Artaphernes, offering to 

248 Darius the Great. [B.C. 510. 

Ilippias among tne Persians. Wars between the Grecian states. 

conduct the Persian armies to Greece, and aid 
them in getting possession of the country, on 
condition that, if they succeeded, the Persians 
would make him the governor of Athens. Ar- 
taphernes made known these offers to Darius, 
and they were eagerly accepted. It was, how- 
ever, very impolitic to accept them. The aid 
which the invaders could derive from the serv- 
ices of such a guide, were far more than coun- 
terbalanced by the influence which his defec- 
tion and the espousal of his cause by the Per- 
sians would produce in Greece. It banded the 
Athenians and their allies together in the most 
enthusiastic and determined spirit of resistance, 
against a man who had now added the baseness 
of treason to the wanton wickedness of tyranny. 
Besides these internal dissensions between 
the people of the several Grecian states and 
their kings,* there were contests between one 
state and another, which Darius proposed to 
take advantage of in his attempts to conquer 
the country. There was one such war in par- 
ticular, between Athens and the is 1 id of iEgi- 
n#, on the effects of which, in aiding him in his 
operations against the Athenians, Darius placed 
great reliance. iEgina was a large and popu- 
lous island not far from Athens. In account 

B.C. 500.] Invasion of Greece. 249 

Quarrel between Athens and iEgina. The two wooden statues. 

ing for the origin of the quarrel between the 
two states, the Greek historians relate the fol- 
lowing marvelous story : 

iEgina, as will be seen from the map, was 
situated in the middle of a bay, southwest from 
Athens. On the other side of the bay, opposite 
from Athens, there was a city, near the shore, 
called Epidaurus. It happened that the people 
of Epidaurus were at one time suffering from 
famine, and they sent a messenger to the ora- 
cle at Delphi to inquire what they should do to 
obtain relief. The Pythian answered that they 
must erect two statues to certain goddesses, 
named Damia and Auxesia, and that then the 
famine would abate. They asked whether they 
were to make the statues of brass or of marble. 
The priestess replied, " Of neither, but of wood." 
They were, she said, to use for the purpose the 
wood of the garden olive. 

This species of olive was a sacred tree, and 
it happened that, at this time, there were no 
trees of the kind that were of sufficient size for 
the purpose ntended except at Athens ; and 
the Epidaurians, accordingly, sent to Athens 
to obtain leave to supply themselves with wood 
for the sculptor by cutting down one of the trees 
from the sacred grove. The Athenians consent- 

250 Darius the Great. [B.C. 500. 

Incursion of the iEginetans. They carry off the statues. 

ed to this, on condition that the Epidaurians 
would offer a certain yearly sacrifice at two 
temples in Athens, which they named. This 
sacrifice, they seemed to imagine, would make 
good to the city whatever of injury their relig- 
ious interests might suffer from the loss of the 
sacred tree. The Epidaurians agreed to the 
condition ; the tree was felled ; blocks from it, 
of proper size, were taken to Epidaurus, and 
the statues were carved. They were set up in 
the city with the usual solemnities, and the 
famine soon after disappeared. 

Not many years after this, a war, for some 
cause or other, broke out between Epidaurus 
and iEgina. The people of JEgina. crossed the 
water in a fleet of galleys, landed at Epidau- 
rus, and, after committing various ravages, 
they seized these images, and bore them away 
in triumph as trophies of their victory. They 
set them up in a public place in the middle of 
their own island, and instituted games and spec- 
tacles around them, which they celebrated with 
great festivity and parade. The Epidaurians, 
having thus lost their statues, ceased to make 
the annual offering at Athens which they had 
stipulated for, in return for receiving the wood 
from which the statues were carved. The Athe- 

B.C. 500.] Invasion of Greece. 251 

Attempt to recover the statues. They fall upon their knees. 

nians complained. The Epidaurians replied 
that they had continued to make the offering 
as long as they had kept the statues ; but that 
now, the statues being in other hands, they 
were absolved from the obligation. The Athe- 
nians next demanded the statues themselves of 
the people of M gina. They refused to surren- 
der them. The Athenians then invaded the isl- 
and, and proceeded to the spot where the stat- 
ues had been erected. They had been set up 
on massive and heavy pedestals. The Athe- 
nians attempted to get them down, but could 
not separate them from their fastenings. They 
then changed their plan, and undertook to move 
the pedestals too, by dragging them with ropes. 
They were arrested in this undertaking by an 
earthquake, accompanied by a solemn and ter- 
rible sound of thunder, which warned them that 
they were provoking the anger of Heaven. 

The statues, too, miraculously fell on their 
knees, and remained fixed in that posture ! 

The Athenians, terrified at these portentous 
signs, abandoned their undertaking and fled to- 
ward the shore. They were, however, inter- 
cepted by the people of iEgina, and some allies 
whom they had hastily summoned to their aid, 
and the whole party was destroyed except one 
single man. He escaped. 


252 Darius the Great. [B.C. 500. 

The Athenian fugitive. He is murdered by the women. 

This single fugitive, however, met with a 
worse fate than that of his comrades. He went 
to Athens, and there the wives and sisters of 
the men who had been killed thronged around 
him to hear his story. They were incensed 
that he alone had escaped, as if his flight had 
been a sort of betrayal and desertion of his com- 
panions. They fell upon him, therefore, with 
one accord, and pierced and wounded him on 
all sides with a sort of pin, or clasp, which they 
used as a fastening for their dress. They final- 
ly killed him. 

The Athenian magistrates were unable to 
bring any of the perpetrators of this crime to 
conviction and punishment ; but a law was 
made, in consequence of the occurrence, forbid- 
ding the use of that sort of fastening for the 
dress to all the Athenian women forever after. 
The people of iEgina, on the other hand, rejoic- 
ed and gloried in the deed of the Athenian wom- 
en, and they made the clasps which were worn 
Upon their island of double size, in honor of it. 

The war, thus commenced between Athens 
and iEgina, went on for a long time, increasing 
in bitterness and cruelty as the injuries in- 
creased in number and magnitude which the 
belligerent parties inflicted on each other. 

B.C. 491.] Invasion of Greece. 253 

The Persian army. Its commander, Datis. 

Such was the state of things in Greece when 
Darius organized his great expedition for the 
invasion of the country. He assembled an im- 
mense armament, though he did not go forth 
himself to command it. He placed the whole 
force under the charge of a Persian general 
named Datis. A considerable part of the army 
which Datis was to command was raised in 
Persia ; but orders had been sent on that large 
accessions to the army, consisting of cavalry, 
foot soldiers, ships, and seamen, and every oth- 
er species of military force, should be raised iD 
all the provinces of Asia Minor, and be ready 
to join it at various places of rendezvous. 

Darius commenced his march at Susa with 
the troops which had been collected there, and 
proceeded westward till he reached the Medi- 
terranean at Cilicia, which is at the northeast 
corner of that sea. Here large re-enforcements 
joined him ; and there was also assembled at 
this point an immense fleet of galleys, which 
had been provided to convey the troops to the 
Grecian seas. The troops embarked, and the 
fleet advanced along the southern shores of Asia 
Minor to the iEgean Sea, where they turned 
to the northward toward the island of Samos, 
which had been appointed as a rendezvous. At 

254 Darius the Great. [B.C. 491. 

Sailing of the fleet. Various conquests. 

Samos they were joined by still greater num- 
bers coming from Ionia, and the various prov- 
inces and islands on that coast that were al- 
ready under the Persian dominion. When they 
were ready for their final departure, the im- 
mense fleet, probably one of the greatest and 
most powerful which had then ever been assem- 
bled, set sail, and steered their course to the 
northwest, among the islands of the iEgean 
Sea. As they moved slowly on, they stopped 
to take possession of such islands as came in 
their way. The islanders, in some cases, sub- 
mitted to them without a struggle. In others, 
they made vigorous but perfectly futile attempts 
to resist. In others still, the terrified inhabit- 
ants abandoned their homes, and fled in dismay 
to the fastnesses of the mountains. The Per- 
sians destroyed the cities and towns whose in- 
habitants they could not conquer, and took the 
children from the most influential families of 
the islands which they did subdue, as hostages 
to hold their parents to their promises when 
their conquerors should have gone. 

The mighty fleet advanced thus, by slow de- 
grees, from conquest to conquest, toward the 
Athenian shores. The vast multitude of gal- 
leys covered the whole surface of the water, and 

B.C. 490.] Invasion of Greece. 257 

Landing of the Persians. State of Athens. 

as they advanced, propelled each by a triple row 
of oars, they exhibited to the fugitives who had 
gained the summits of the mountains the ap- 
pearance of an immense swarm of insects, 
creeping, by an almost imperceptible advance, 
over the smooth expanse of the sea. 

The fleet, guided all the time by Hippias, 
passed on, and finally entered the strait between 
the island of Eubcea and the main land to the 
northward of Athens. Here, after some oper- 
ations on the island, the Persians finally brought 
their ships into a port on the Athenian side, and 
landed. Hippias made all the arrangements, 
and superintended the disembarkation. 

In the mean time, all was confusion and dis- 
may in the city of Athens. The government, 
as soon as they heard of the approach of this 
terrible danger, had sent an express to the city 
of Sparta, asking for aid. The aid had been 
promised, but it had not yet arrived. The 
Athenians gathered together all the forces at 
their command on the northern side of the city, 
and were debating the question, with great anx- 
iety and earnestness, whether they should shut 
themselves up within the walls, and await the 
onset of their enemies there, or go forth to meet 

them on the way. The whole force which the 

258 Darius the Great. [B.C.490. 

The Greek army. Miltiades and his colleagues. 

Greeks could muster consisted of but about ten 
thousand men, while the Persian host contain- 
ed over a hundred thousand. It seemed mad- 
ness to engage in a contest on an open field 
against such an overwhelming disparity of num- 
bers. A majority of voices were, accordingly, 
in favor of remaining within the fortifications 
of the city, and awaiting an attack. 

The command of the army had been intrust- 
ed, not to one man, but to a commission of 
three generals, a sort of triumvirate, on whose 
joint action the decision of such a question de- 
volved. Two of the three were in favor of tak- 
ing a defensive position ; but the third, the cel- 
ebrated Miltiades, was so earnest and so decid- 
ed hi favor of attacking the enemy themselves, 
instead of waiting to be attacked, that his opin- 
ion finally carried the day, and the other gener- 
als resigned their portion of authority into his 
hands, consenting that he should lead the Greek 
army into,- -battle, if he dared to take the re- 
sponsibility of doing so. 

The two armies were at this time encamped 
in sight of each other on the plain of Marathon, 
between the mountain and the sea. They were 
nearly a mile apart. The countless multitude 
of the Persians extended as far as the eye could 

B.C. 490.] Invasion of Greece. 259 

Position of the armies. Miltiades's plan of attack. 

reach, with long lines of tents in the distance, 
and thousands of horsemen on the plain, all 
ready for the charge. The Greeks, on the oth- 
er hand, occupied a small and isolated spot, in 
a compact form, without cavalry, without arch- 
ers, without, in fact, any weapons suitable ei- 
ther for attack or defense, except in a close en- 
counter hand to hand. Their only hope of suc- 
cess depended on the desperate violence of the 
onset they were to make upon the vast masses 
of men spread out before them. On the one 
side were immense numbers, whose force, vast 
as it was, must necessarily be more or less im- 
peded in its operations, and slow. It was to be 
overpowered, therefore, if overpowered at all, by 
the utmost fierceness and rapidity of action — 
by sudden onsets, unexpected and furious as- 
saults, and heavy, vigorous, and rapid blows. 
Miltiades, therefore, made all his arrangements 
with reference to that mode of warfare. Such 
soldiers as the Greeks, too, were admirably 
adapted to execute such designs, and the im- 
mense and heterogeneous mass of Asiatic na- 
tions which covered the plain before them was 
exactly the body for such an experiment to be 
made upon. Glorying in their numbers and 
confident of victory, they were slowly advanc- 

260 Darius the Great. [B.C. 490. 

Onset of the Greeks. Rout of the Persians. 

ing, without the least idea that the little band 
before them could possibly do them any serious 
harm. They had actually brought with them, 
in the train of the army, some blocks of mar- 
ble, with which they were going to erect a mon- 
ument of their victory, on the field of battle, as 
soon as the conflict was over ! 

At length the Greeks began to put them- 
selves in motion. As they advanced, they ac- 
celerated their march more and more, until just 
before reaching the Persian lines, when they 
besran to run. The astonishment of the Per- 
sians at this unexpected and daring onset soon 
gave place, first to the excitement of personal 
conflict, and then to universal terror and dis- 
may ; for the headlong impetuosity of the 
Greeks bore down all opposition, and the des- 
perate swordsmen cut their way through the 
vast masses of the enemy with a fierce and 
desperate fury that nothing could withstand. 
Something like a contest continued for some 
hours ; but, at the end of that time, the Per- 
sians were flying in all directions, every one en- 
deavoring, by the track which he found most 
practicable for himself, to make his way to the 
ships on the shore. Vast multitudes were kill- 
ed in this headlong flight ; others became en- 

B.C. 490.] Invasion of Greece. 261 

Results of the battle. Numbers slain. 

tangled in the morasses and fens, and others 
still strayed away, and sought, in their terror, 
a hopeless refuge in the defiles of the mount- 
ains. Those who escaped crowded in confusion 
on board their ships, and pushed off from the 
shore, leaving the whole plain covered with 
their dead and dying companions. 

The Greeks captured an immense amount of 
stores and baggage, which were of great cost 
and value. They took possession, too, of the 
marble blocks which the Persians had brought 
to immortalize their victory, and built with 
them a monument, instead, to commemorate 
their defeat. They counted the dead. Six thou- 
sand Persians, and only two hundred Greeks, 
were found. The bodies of the Greeks were 
collected together, and buried on the field, and 
an immense mound was raised over the grave. 
This mound has continued to stand at Mara- 
thon to the present day. 

The battle of Marathon was one of those 
great events in the history of the human race 
which continue to attract, from age to age, the 
admiration of mankind. They who look upon 
war, in all its forms, as only the perpetration 
of an unnatural and atrocious crime, which 
rises to dignity and grandeur only by the very 

262 Darius the Great. [B.C. 490. 

The field of Marathon. The mound. 

enormity of its guilt, can not but respect the 
courage, the energy, and the cool and determ- 
ined resolution with which the little band of 
Greeks went forth to stop the torrent of foes 
which all the nations of a whole continent had 
combined to pour upon them. The field has 
been visited in every age by thousands of trav- 
elers, who have upon the spot offered their trib- 
ute of admiration to the ancient heroes that tri- 
umphed there. The plain is found now, as of 
old, overlooking the sea, and the mountains in- 
land, towering above the plain. The mound, 
too, still remains, which was reared to conse- 
crate the memory of the Greeks who fell. They 
who visit it stand and survey the now silent and 
solitary scene, and derive from the influence 
and spirit of the spot new strength and energy 
to meet the great difficulties and dangers of 
life which they themselves have to encounter. 
The Greeks ( themselves, of the present day, 
notwithstanding the many sources of discour- 
agement and depression with which they have 
to contend, must feel at Marathon some rising 
spirit of emulation in contemplating the lofty 
mental powers and the undaunted spirit of their 
aires. Byron makes one of them sing, 

B.C. 490.] Invasion of Gtreece. 263 

Song of the Greek. 

" The mountains look on Marathon, 
And Marathon looks on the sea ; 
And musing there an hour alone, 

I dreamed that Greece might still be free; 
For, standing on the Persians' grave, 
I could not deem myself a slave." 

264 Darius the Great. [B.C. 490. 

The Persian fleet sails southward. Fate of Hippias. 

Chapter XII. 
The Death of Darius. 

THE city of Athens and the plain of Mara- 
thon are situated upon a peninsula. The 
principal port hy which the city was ordinarily 
approached was on the southern shore of the 
peninsula, though the Persians had landed on 
the northern side. Of course, in their retreat 
from the field of battle, they fled to the north. 
When they were beyond the reach of their en- 
emies and fairly at sea, they were at first some- 
what perplexed to determine what to do. Da- 
tis was extremely unwilling to return to Darius 
with the news of such a defeat. On the other 
hand, there seemed hut little hope of any other 
result if he were to attempt a second landing. 

Hippias, their Greek guide, was killed in the 
battle. He expected to be killed, for his mind, 
on the morning of the battle, was in a state of 
great despondency and dejection. Until that 
time he had felt a strong and confident expec- 
tation of success, but his feelings had then been 
very suddenly changed. His confidence had 

B.C. 490.] The Death of Darius. 265 

Omens. The dream and the sneeze. 

arisen from the influence of a dream, his dejec- 
tion from a cause more frivolous still ; so that 
he was equally irrational in his hope and in his 

The omen which seemed to him to portend 
success to the enterprise in which he had un- 
dertaken to act as guide, was merely that he 
dreamed one night that he saw, and spent some 
time in company with, his mother. In attempt- 
ing to interpret this dream in the morning, it 
seemed to him that Athens, his native city, was 
represented by his mother, and that the vision 
denoted that he was about to be restored ^ to 
Athens again. He was extremely elated at 
this supernatural confirmation of his hopes, and 
would have gone into the battle certain of vic- 
tory, had it not been that another circumstance 
occurred at the time of the landing to blast his 
hopes. He had, himself, the general charge of 
the disembarkation. He stationed the ships at 
their proper places near the shore, and formed 
the men upon the beach as they landed. Whue 
he was thus engaged, standing on the sand, he 
suddenly sneezed. He was an old man, and 
his teeth — those that remained — were loose. 
One of them was thrown out in the act of 
sneezing, and it fell into the sand. Hippias was 

266 Darius the Great. [B.C. 490. 

Hippias falls in battle. Movements of the Persian fleet 

ftlarmed at this occurrence, considering it a bad 
Dmen. He looked a long time for the tooth in 
Vain, and then exclaimed that all was over. 
The joining of his tooth to his mother earth was 
the event to which his dream referred, and there 
was now no hope of any further fulfillment of 
it. He went on mechanically, after this, in 
marshaling his men and preparing for hattle, 
but his mind was oppressed with gloomy fore- 
bodings. He acted, in consequence, feebly and 
with indecision ; and when the Greeks explor- 
ed the field on the morning after the battle, his 
body was found among the other mutilated and 
ghastly remains which covered the ground. 

As the Persian fleet moved, therefore, along 
the coast of Attica, they had no longer their 
former guide. They were still, however, very 
reluctant to leave the country. They followed 
the shore of the peninsula until they came to 
the promontory of Sunium, which forms the 
southeastern extremity of it. They doubled 
this cape, and then followed the southern shore 
of the peninsula until they arrived at the point 
opposite to Athens on that side. In the mean 
time, however, the Spartan troops which had 
been sent for to aid the Athenians in the con- 
test, but which had not arrived in time to take 

B.C. 490.] The Death of Darius. 267 

The Persian fleet returns to Asia. Anxiety of Datis. 

part in the battle, reached the ground ; and the 
indications which the Persians observed, from 
the decks of their galleys, that the country was 
thoroughly aroused, and was every where ready 
to receive them, deterred them from making 
any further attempts to land. After lingering, 
therefore, a short time near the shore, the fleet 
directed its course again toward the coasts of 

The mind of Datis was necessarily very ill 
at ease. He dreaded the wrath of Darius ; for 
despots are very prone to consider military fail- 
ures as the worst of crimes. The expedition 
had not, however, been entirely a failure. Da- 
tis had conquered many of the Greek islands, 
and he had with him, on board his galleys, great 
numbers of prisoners, and a vast amount of 
plunder which he had obtained from them. 
Still, the greatest and most important of the 
objects which Darius had commissioned him to 
accomplish had been entirely defeated, and he 
felt, accordingly, no little anxiety in respect to 
the reception which he was to expect at Susa. 

One night he had a dream which greatly dis- 
turbed him. He awoke in the morning with 
an impression upon his mind, which he had de- 
rived from the dream, that some temple had 

268 Darius the Great. [B.C. 490. 

Datis finds a stolen statue. Island of Delos. 

been robbed by his soldiers in the course of his 
expedition, and that the sacrilegious booty 
which had been obtained was concealed some- 
where in the fleet. He immediately ordered a 
careful search to be instituted, in which every 
ship was examined. At length they found, con- 
cealed in one of the galleys, a golden statue of 
Apollo. Datis inquired what city it had been 
taken from. They answered from Delium. 
Delium was on the coast of Attica, near the 
place where the Persians had landed, at the 
time of their advance on Marathon. Datis 
could not safely or conveniently go back there 
to restore it to its place. He determined, there- 
fore, to deposit it at Delos for safe keeping, un- 
til it could be returned to its proper home. 

Delos was a small but very celebrated island 
near the center of the JEgean Sea, and but a 
short distance from the spot where the Persian 
fleet was lying when Datis made this discovery. 
It was a sacred island, devoted to religious rites, 
and all contention, and violence, and, so far as 
was possible, all suffering and death, were ex- 
cluded from it. The sick were removed from it ; 
the dead were not buried there ; armed ships 
and armed men laid aside their hostility to each 
other when they approached it. Belligerent 

B.C. 490.] The Death of Darius. 269 

Account of the sacred island. Its present condition. 

fleets rode at anchor, side by side, in peace, 
upon the smooth waters of its little port, and 
an enchanting picture of peace, tranquillity, 
and happiness was seen upon its shores. A large 
natural fountain, or spring, thirty feet in diam- 
eter, and inclosed partly by natural rocks and 
partly by an artificial wall, issued from the 
ground in the center of the island, and sent 
forth a beautiful and fertilizing rill into a rich 
and happy valley, through which it meandered, 
deviously, for several miles, seeking the sea. 
There was a large and populous city near the 
port, and the whole island was adorned with 
temples, palaces, colonnades, and other splendid 
architectural structures, which made it the ad- 
miration of all mankind. All this magnificence 
and beauty have, however, long since passed 
away. The island is now silent, deserted, and 
desolate, a dreary pasture, where cattle browse 
and feed, with stupid indifference, among the 
ancient ruins. Nothing living remains of the 
ancient scene of grandeur and beauty but the 
fountain. That still continues to pour up its 
clear and pellucid waters with a ceaseless and 
eternal flow. 

It was to this Delos that Datis determined 
to restore the golden statue. He took it on 

270 Darius the Great. [B.C. 490. 

Disposition of the army. Darius's reception of Datis. 

board his own galley, and proceeded with it, 
himself, to the sacred island. He deposited it 
in the great temple of Apollo, charging the 
priests to convey it, as soon as a convenient op- 
portunity should occur, to its proper destination 
at Delium. 

The Persian fleet, after this business was dis- 
posed of, set sail again, and pursued its course 
toward the coasts of Asia, where at length the 
expedition landed in safety. 

The various divisions of the army were then 
distributed in the different provinces where they 
respectively belonged, and Datis commenced his 
march with the Persian portion of the troops, and 
with his prisoners and plunder, for Susa, feeling, 
however, very uncertain how he should be re- 
ceived on his arrival there. Despotic power is 
always capricious ; and the character of Darius, 
which seems to have been naturally generous 
and kind, and 1 was rendered cruel and tyrannic- 
al only through the influence of the position in 
which he had been placed, was continually pre- 
senting the most opposite and contradictory 
phases. The generous elements of it, fortu- 
nately for Datis, seemed to be in the ascenden- 
cy when the remnant of the Persian army ar- 
rived at Susa. Darius recoved the returning 

B.C. 490.] The Death of Darius. 271 

Subsequent history of Miltiades. His great popularity. 

general without anger, and even treated the 
prisoners with humanity. 

Before finally leaving the subject of this cel- 
ebrated invasion, which was brought to an end 
in so remarkable a manner by the great battle 
of Marathon, it may be well to relate the ex- 
traordinary circumstances which attended the 
subsequent history of Miltiades, the great com- 
mander in that battle on the Greek side. Be- 
fore the conflict, he seems to have had no offi- 
cial superiority over the other generals, but, by 
the resolute decision with which he urged the 
plan of giving the Persians battle, and the con- 
fidence and courage which he manifested in ex- 
pressing his readiness to take the responsibility 
of the measure, he placed himself virtually at 
the head of the Greek command. The rest of 
the officers acquiesced in his pre-eminence, and, 
waiving their claims to an equal share of the 
authority, they allowed him to go forward and 
direct the operations of the day. If the day 
had been lost, Miltiades, even though he had 
escaped death upon the field, would have been 
totally and irretrievably ruined ; but as it was 
won, the result of the transaction was that he 
was raised to the highest pinnacle of glory and 

272 Darius the Great. [B.C. 490. 

Miltiades's influence at Athens. His ambitious designs. 

And yet in this, as in all similar cases, the 
question of success or of failure depended upon 
causes wholly beyond the reach of human fore- 
sight or control. The military commander who 
acts in such contingencies is compelled to stake 
every thing dear to him on results which are 
often as purely hazardous as the casting of a die. 

The influence of Miltiades in Athens after 
the Persian troops were withdrawn was para- 
mount and supreme. Finding himself in pos- 
session of this ascendency, he began to form 
plans for other military undertakings. It prov- 
ed, in the end, that it would have been far bet- 
ter for him to have been satisfied with the fame 
which he had already acquired. 

Some of the islands in the iEgean Sea he 
considered as having taken part with the Per- 
sians in the invasion, to such an extent, at least, 
as to furnish him with a pretext for making 
war upon them. The one which he had spe- 
cially in view, in the first instance, was Paros. 
Paros is a large and important island situated 
near the center of the southern portion of the 
iEgean Sea. It is of an oval form, and is 
about twelve miles long. The surface of the 
land is beautifully diversified and very pictur- 
esque, while, at the same time, the soil is very 

B.C. 490.] The Death of Darius. 273 

Island and city of Paros. Appearance of (he modern town. 

fertile. In the days of Miltiades, it was very 
wealthy and populous, and there was a large 
city, called also Paros, on the western coast of 
the island, near the sea. There is a modern 
town built upon the site of the former city, 
which presents a very extraordinary appear- 
ance, as the dwellings are formed, in a great 
measure, of materials obtained from the ancient 
ruins. Marble columns, sculptured capitals, 
and fragments of what were once magnificent 
entablatures, have been used to construct plain 
walls, or laid in obscure and neglected pave- 
ments — all, however, still retaining, notwith- 
standing their present degradation, unequivocal 
marks of the nobleness of their origin. The 
quarries where the ancient Parian marble was 
obtained were situated on this island, not very 
far from the town. They remain to the pres- 
ent day in the same state in which the ancient 
workmen left them. 

In the time of Miltiades the island and the 
city of Paros were both very wealthy and very 
powerful. Miltiades conceived the design of 
making a descent upon the island, and levying 
an immense contribution upon the people, in the 
form of a fine, for what he considered their trea- 
son in taking part with the enemies of their 
2d— 18 

274 Darius the Great. [B.C. 490. 

Miltiades's proposition to the Athenians. They accept it. 

countrymen. In order to prevent the people of 
Paros from preparing for defense, Miltiades in* 
tended to keep the object of his expedition se- 
cret for a time. He therefore simply proposed 
to the Athenians that they should equip a fleet 
and put it under his command. He had an en- 
terprise in view, he said, the nature of which 
he could not particularly explain, but he was 
very confident of its success, and, if successful, 
he should return, in a short time, laden with 
spoils which would enrich the city, and amply 
reimburse the people for the expenses they 
would have incurred. The force which he ask- 
ed for was a fleet of seventy vessels. 

So great was the popularity and influence 
which Miltiades had acquired by his victory at 
Marathon, that this somewhat extraordinary 
proposition was readily complied with. The 
fleet was equipped, and crews were provided, 
and the whole armament was placed under Mil- 
tiades's command. The men themselves who 
were embarked on board of the galleys did not 
know whither they were going. Miltiades prom- 
ised them victory and an abundance of gold as 
their reward ; for the rest, they must trust, he 
said, to him, as he could not explain the actual 
destination of the enterprise without endanger- 

B.C. 490.] The Death of Darius. 275 

Miltiades marches against Paros. Its resistance. 

ing its success. The men were all satisfied 
with these conditions, and the fleet set sail. 

When it arrived on the coast of Paros, the 
Parians were, of course, taken by surprise, but 
they made immediate preparations for a very 
vigorous resistance. Miltiades commenced a 
siege, and sent a herald to the city, demanding 
of them, as the price of their ransom, an im- 
mense sum of money, saying, at the same time, 
that, unless they delivered up that sum, or, at 
least, gave security for the payment of it, he 
would not leave "^lie place until the city was 
captured, and, when captured, it should be whol- 
ly destroyed. The Parians rejected the de- 
mand, and engaged energetically in the work of 
completing and strengthening their defenses. 
They organized companies of workmen to labor 
during the night, when their operations would 
not be observed, in building new walls, and re- 
enforcing every weak or unguarded point in the 
line of the fortifications. It i oon appeared that 
the Parians were making fav more rapid prog- 
ress in securing their position than Miltiades 
was in his assaults upon it. Miltiades found 
that an attack upon a fortified island in the 
iEgean Sea was a different thing from encoun- 
tering the undisciplined hordes of Persians on 

276 Darius the Great. [B.C. 490 

Miltiades is discouraged. The captive priestess. 

the open plains of Marathon. There it was a 
contest between concentrated courage and dis- 
cipline on the one hand, and a vast expansion 
of pomp and parade on the other ; whereas now 
he found that the courage and discipline on his 
part were met by an equally indomitable reso- 
lution on the part of his opponents, guided, too, 
by an equally well-trained experience and skill. 
In a word, it was Greek against Greek at Pa- 
ros, and Miltiades began at length to perceive 
that his prospect of success was growing very 
doubtful and dim. 

This state of things, of course, filled the mind 
of Miltiades with great anxiety and distress ; 
for, after the promises which he had made to 
the Athenians, and the blind confidence which 
he had asked of them in proposing that they 
should commit the fleet so unconditionally to 
his command, he could not return discomfited 
to Athens without involving himself in the most 
absolute disgrace. While he was in this per- 
plexity, it happened that some of his soldiers 
took captive a Parian female, one day, among 
other prisoners. She proved to be a priestess, 
from one of the Parian temples. Her name 
was Timo. The thought occurred to Miltiades 
that, since all human means at his command 

B.C. 490.] The Death of Darius. 277 

Miltiades's interview with the priestess. Her instructions. 

had proved inadequate to accomplish his end, 
he might, perhaps, through this captive priest- 
ess, obtain some superhuman aid. As she had 
been in the service of a Parian temple, she 
would naturally have an influence with the di- 
vinities of the place, or, at least, she would be 
acquainted with the proper means of propitiat- 
ing their favor. 

Miltiades, accordingly, held a private inter- 
view with Timo, and asked her what he should 
do to propitiate the divinities of Paros so far as 
to enable him to gain possession of the city. 
She replied that she could easily point out the 
way, if he would but follow her instructions. 
Miltiades, overjoyed, promised readily that he 
would do so. She then gave him her instruc- 
tions secretly. What they were is not known, 
except so far as they were revealed by the oc- 
currences that followed. 

There was a temple consecrated to the god- 
dess Ceres near to the city, and so connected 
with it, it seems, as to be in some measure in- 
cluded within the defenses. The approach to 
this temple was guarded by a palisade. There 
were, however, gates which afforded access, ex- 
cept when they were fastened from within. 
Miltiades, in obedience to Timo's instructions, 

278 Darius the Great. [B.C.490. 

Miltiades attempts to enter the temple of Ceres. He dislocates a limb. 

went privately, in the night, perhaps, and with 
very few attendants, to this temple. He at- 
tempted to enter by the gates, which he had 
expected, it seems, to find open. They were, 
however, fastened against him. He then un- 
dertook to scale the palisade. He succeeded in 
doing this, not, however, without difficulty, and 
then advanced toward the temple, in obedience 
to the instructions which he had received from 
Timo. The account states that the act, what- 
ever it was, that Timo had directed him to per- 
form, instead of being, as he supposed, a means 
of propitiating the favor of the divinity, was 
sacrilegious and impious ; and Miltiades, as he 
approached the temple, was struck suddenly 
with a mysterious and dreadful horror of mind, 
which wholly overwhelmed him. Rendered al- 
most insane by this supernatural remorse and 
terror, he turned to fly. He reached the pali- 
sade, and, in endeavoring to climb over it, his 
precipitation and haste caused him to fall. His 
attendants ran to take him up. He was help- 
less and in great pain. They found he had dis- 
located a joint in one of his limbs. He receiv- 
ed, of course, every possible attention ; but, in- 
stead of recovering from the injury, he found 
that the consequences of it became more and 

B.C. 490.] The Death of Darius. 279 

Miltiades returns to Athens. He is imDeached. 

more serious every day. In a word, the great 
conqueror of the Persians was now wholly over- 
thrown, and lay moaning on his couch as help- 
less as a child. 

He soon determined to abandon the siege of 
Paros and return to Athens. He had been 
about a month upon the island, and had laid 
waste the rural districts, but, as the city had 
made good its defense against him, he returned 
without any of the rich spoil which he had 
promised. The disappointment which the peo- 
ple of Athens experienced on his arrival, turn- 
ed soon into a feeling of hostility against the 
author of the calamity. Miltiades found that 
the fame and honor which he had gained at 
Marathon were gone. They had been lost al- 
most as suddenly as they had been acquired. 
The rivals and enemies who had been silenced 
by his former success were now brought out 
and made clamorous against him by his present 
failure. They attributed the failure to his own 
mismanagement of the expedition, and one ora- 
tor, at length, advanced articles of impeachment 
against him, on a charge of having been bribed 
by the Persians to make his siege of Paros only 
a feint. Miltiades could not defend himself 
"from these criminations, for he was lying, at 

280 Darius the Great. [B.C. 490. 

Miltiades is condemned. He dies of his wound. 

the time, in utter helplessness, upon his couch 
of pain. The dislocation of the limb had end- 
ed in an open wound, which at length, having 
resisted all the attempts of the physicians to 
stop its progress, had begun to mortify, and the 
life of the sufferer was fast ebbing away. His 
son Cimon did all in his power to save his fa- 
ther from both the dangers that threatened him. 
He defended his character in the public tribu- 
nals, and he watched over his person in the cell 
in the prison. These filial efforts were, how- 
ever, in both cases unavailing. Miltiades was 
condemned by the tribunal, and he died of Irjs 

The penalty exacted of him by the sentence 
was a very heavy fine. The sum demanded 
was the amount which the expedition to Paros 
had cost the city, and which, as it had been lost 
through the agency of Miltiades, it was adjudg- 
ed that he should refund. This sentence, as 
well as the treatment in general which Miltiades 
received from his countrymen, has been since 
considered by mankind as very unjust and cruel. 
It was, however, only following out, somewhat 
rigidly, it is true, the essential terms and con- 
ditions of a military career. It results from 
principles inherent in the very nature of war, 

B.C.490.] The Death of Darius. 281 

The fine paid. Proposed punishment of Timo. 

that we are never to look for the ascendency of 
justice and humanity in any thing pertaining 
to it. It is always power, and not right, that 
determines possession ; it is success, not merit, 
that gains honors and rewards ; and they who 
assent to the genius and spirit of military rule 
thus far, must not complain if they find that, 
on the same principle, it is failure and not crime 
which brings condemnation and destruction. 

"When Miltiades was dead, Cimon found that 
he could not receive his father's body for honor- 
able interment unless he paid the fine. He had 
no means, himself, of doing this. He succeed- 
ed, however, at length, in raising the amount, 
by soliciting contributions from the family 
friends of his father. He paid the fine into the 
city treasury, and then the body of the hero 
was deposited in its long home. 

The Parians were at first greatly incensed 
against the priestess Timo, as it seemed to 
them that she had intended to betray the city 
to Miltiades. They wished to put her to death, 
but they did not dare to do it. It might be con- 
sidered an impious sacrilege to punish a priest- 
ess. They accordingly sent to the oracle at 
Delphi to state the circumstances of the case, 
and to inquire if they might lawfully put the 

282 Darius the Great. [B.C. 490. 

Timo saved by the Delphic oracle. Another expedition against Greece. 

priestess to death. She had been guilty, they 
said, of pointing out to an enemy the mode by 
which he might gain possession of their city ; 
and, what was worse, she had, in doing so, at- 
tempted to admit him to those solemn scenes 
and mysteries in the temple which it was not 
lawful for any man to behold. The oracle re- 
plied that the priestess must not be punished, 
for she had done no wrong. It had been de- 
creed by the gods that Miltiades should be de- 
stroyed, and Timo had been employed by them 
as the involuntary instrument of conducting 
him to his fate. The people of Paros acqui- 
esced in this decision, and Timo was set free. 

But to return to Darius. His desire to sub- 
due the Greeks and to add their country to his 
dominions, and his determination to accomplish 
his purpose, were increased and strengthened, 
not diminished, by the repulse which his army 
had met with at the first invasion. He was 
greatly incensed against the Athenians, as if 
he considered their courage and energy in 
defending their country an audacious outrage 
against himself, and a crime. He resolved to 
organize a new expedition, still greater and 
more powerful than the other. Of this arma- 

B.C. 485.] The Death of Darius. 283 

Preparations. Necessity for settling the succession. 

ment he determined to take the command him- 
self in person, and to make the preparations for 
it on a scale of such magnitude as that the ex- 
pedition should be worthy to be led by the great 
sovereign of half the world. He accordingly 
transmitted orders to all the peoples, nations, 
languages, and realms, in all his dominions, to 
raise their respective quotas of troops, horses, 
ships, and munitions of war, and prepare to as- 
semble at such place of rendezvous as he should 
designate when all should be ready. 

Some years elapsed before these arrange- 
ments were matured, and when at last the 
time seemed to have arrived for carrying his 
plans into effect, he deemed it necessary, before 
he commenced his march, to settle the succes- 
sion of his kingdom ; for he had several sons, 
who might each claim the throne, and involve 
the empire in disastrous civil wars in attempt- 
ing to enforce their claims, in case he should 
never return. The historians say that there 
was a law of Persia forbidding the sovereign to 
leave the realm without previously fixing upon 
a successor. It is difficult to see, however, by 
what power or authority such a law could have 
been enacted, or to believe that monarchs like 
Darius would recognize an abstract obligation 
to law of any kind, in respect to their own po- 

284 Darius the Great. [BO. 485. 

Darius's two sons. Their claims to the throne. 

litical action. There is a species of law regu- 
lating the ordinary dealings between man and 
man, that springs up in all communities, wheth- 
er savage or civilized, from custom, and from 
the action of judicial tribunals, which the most 
despotic and absolute sovereigns feel themselves 
bound, so far as relates to the private affairs of 
their subjects, to respect and uphold ; but, in 
regard to their own personal and governmental 
acts and measures, they very seldom know any 
other authority than the impulses of their own 
sovereign will. 

Darius had several sons, among whom there 
were two who claimed the right to succeed 
their father on the throne. One was the oldest 
son of a wife whom Darius had married before 
he became king. His name was Artobazanes. 
The other was the son of Atossa, the daughter 
of Cyrus, whom Darius had married after his 
accession to the throne. His name was Xerxes. 
Artobazanes claimed that he was entitled to be 
his father's heir, since he was his oldest son. 
Xerxes, on the other hand, maintained that, at 
the period of the birth of Artobazanes, Darius 
was not a king. He was then in a private sta- 
tion, and sons could properly inherit only what 
their fathers possessed at the time when they 
were born. He himself* on the other hand> was 

B.C. 485.] The Death of Darius. 285 

Xerxes declared heir. Death of Darius. 

the oldest son which his father had had, being' 
a king, and he was, consequently, the true 
inheritor of the kingdom. Besides, being the 
son of Atossa, he was the grandson of Cyrus, 
and the hereditary rights, therefore, of that great 
founder of the empire had descended to him. 

Darius decided the question in favor of Xerx- 
es, and then made arrangements for commenc- 
ing his march, with a mind full of the elation 
and pride which were awakened by the grand- 
eur of his position and the magnificence of his 
schemes. These schemes, however, he did not 
live to execute. He suddenly fell sick and died, 
just as he was ready to set out upon his expe- 
dition, and Xerxes, his son, reigned in his stead. 

Xerxes immediately took command of the 
vast preparations which his father had made, 
and went on with the prosecution of the enter- 
prise. The expedition which followed deserves, 
probably, in respect to the numbers engaged in 
it, the distance which it traversed, the im- 
menseness of the expenses involved, and the 
magnitude of its results, to be considered the 
greatest military undertaking which human 
ambition and power have ever attempted to ef- 
fect. The narrative, however, both of its splen- 
did adventures and of its ultimate fate, belongs 
to the history of Xerx«a» 

286 Darius the Great. [B.C. 485. 

Character of Darius. Ground of his renown. 

The greatness of Darius was the greatness of 
position and not of character. He was the ab* 
solute sovereign of nearly half the world, and, . 
as such, was held up very conspicuously to the 
attention of mankind, who gaze with a strong 
feeling of admiration and awe upon these vast 
elevations of power, as they do upon the sum- 
mits of mountains, simply because they are 
high. Darius performed no great exploit, and 
he accomplished no great object while he lived ; 
and he did not even leave behind hi/n any strong 
impressions of personal character. There is in 
his history, and in the position which he occu- 
pies in the minds of men, greatness without 
dignity, success without merit, vast and long- 
continued power without effects accomplished 
or objects gained, and universal and perpetual 
renown without honor or applause. The world 
admire Caesar, Hannibal, Alexander, Alfred, and 
Napoleon for the deeds which they performed. 
They admire Darius only on account of the el- 
evation on which he stood. In the same lofty 
position, they would have admired, probably, 
just as much, the very horse whose neighing 
olaced him there. 

The End. 


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